There's so many different models of black powder muzzle loading revolver to pick from, you're already spoiled for choice without even considering which calibre to choose. Possibly one of the most frequently asked questions relating to black powder revolvers is whether .36 or .44 calibre is better, so here we'll try to dispel some of the misconceptions or untruths surrounding them.

Black powder revolver on a table

Does .36 or .44 calibre shoots better?

Neither. It doesn't make a difference, if you've got a good load worked up, either calibre can be made to shoot to the same standard. If I'm going to split hairs, for competitions I would choose a .44, as the larger sized ball may help higher scores on marginal shots close to the line, but bad shooting isn't going to be transformed into good shooting by going from .36 to .44.

Is .36 or .44 more historically accurate?

Depends on the gun. For example, the 1851 Colt Navy model was originally chambered in .36, with the later 1860 Colt Army being in .44.

1851 Colt Navy

1860 Colt Army

If historical accuracy is what you're looking for, then there's plenty of options available.

Does .36 recoil less than .44?

Yes, for two reasons. Firstly (assuming the same model of pistol), a .36 pistol weighs more than a .44, as there is more metal to the gun due to thicker barrel & chamber walls, and heavier guns recoil less than lighter ones as the mass of the heavier pistol absorbs the force better. A lighter charge is also generally used in a .36 revolver, meaning there is less recoiling force anyway. Neither .36 nor .44 has tremendous recoil in any case, either calibre can be shot comfortably one handed, even with a reasonable powder charge.

Is .36 cheaper than .44?

In terms of cost of the gun, no. One version of a gun will cost the same as the other, as is the case with these .36 and .44 Pietta Sherriff models. .36 calibre guns are cheaper to feed though, as they take a smaller powder charge and smaller balls. The cost difference is marginal though, particularly if you cast your own balls.

Is .44 more powerful than .36?

Surprisingly, there's not much difference. A .44 ball is heavier, though a .36 ball will travel faster. It depends on more factors than just calibre, such as powder charge and barrel length to say definitively that one is more powerful than the other. They both go through a paper target the same anyway.

Is .44 or .36 faster or easier to load?

No muzzle loading revolver is particularly fast or easy to load. There's so little difference between the calibres in terms of ease or speed of loading that it's not a consideration.

Would .36 or .44 suit me better?

There's no hard and fast rules to which calibre you should pick, often it simply comes down to personal preference. Some may find the lighter recoil and slightly cheaper running costs of the .36 more appealing, others may prefer the larger calibre of the .44 for competitions. If you're really stuck for which to pick, you can always just get both.

Henry Krank Cast Soft Lead Balls

All our muzzle loading revolvers can be viewed on our website here. In order to buy, a firearms certificate with the appropriate variation for .44 (or) .36 muzzle loading revolver is required. Please email [email protected], telephone 0113 256 9163 to order, or order through your local firearms dealer.