07 September 2016

Hand Cannon Comparison

Here's another GURPS conundrum.  The Anaconda and the 629 weigh almost the same.  The ammo weighs the same.

.44 does more damage and goes farther, but needs a higher ST and has a stiffer recoil penalty.  It might load slower, but I think that's an unresolved bit of errata in my tables.  Price comes out in the wash and legality class is identical.

3d-2 pi+ on an unarmored body hit does 1-24 points of damage with an average of 12.
3d+2 pi+ on the same target does 7-30 points with an average of 18.

Let's assume a skill of 14 with Guns/TL7 (Pistol) and a ST 11.

The penalties for shooting at the 1/2D ranges are -11 for .45 and -13 for .44.  This just isn't going to come up unless your GM hands out the points like Monte Hall.  A skill 14 doesn't even get a roll to hit past 150 yards anyways!

At 10 yards, it's a -4 to hit.  If you aim, +2.  If you fire double action -1.  Net 11.

With the Anaconda a roll of 11 hits one round, 8 hits two and a 5 hits three.  62.5%, 25.962% and 4.63% respectively.

With the Smith, a roll of 11 hits one round, 7 hits two and a 3 hits three.  62.5%, 16.204% and 0.436%.

Since the average to hit roll is going to be 10, both guns waste two rounds on average!  However, the .45 is 50% more likely to land two shots and ten times as likely to land three.

Put another way...  Out of 300 rounds fired, .45 will land 86 rounds and .44 will land 77.  Using the average damage that means 1,032 points for .45 and 1,386 for .44.

If you have a ST 10 like most people (but not most adventurers) you've an additional -1 for being a point short.  That changes your chances to hit a bit, needing a 10, 6 and 2 or 50%, 9.259% and 0%.  That should land you 58 hits though for an average of 1,044!  Still better than .45 huh?

What you do get with .45 Colt is the ability to use ammo all the way from 1873.  .44 Magnum can chamber and fire .44 Special from 1907 (with reduced damage and range but also reduced recoil) or .44 Russian from 1870 (with even more reduction in range).


  1. Make sure that characters observe proper cleaning procedures if they use corrosive ammo (either corrosive primers or black powder/black powder substitute). Or else you'll need to figure in a chance for malfunction after a certain number of rounds due to fouling with BP and also accuracy can be affected -- modern revolvers like the Anaconda and 629 aren't really designed for anything other then smokeless powder. Obviously effect on accuracy could become permanent if the rifling is degraded due to corrosion. Thank goodness for Stainless Steel, although it is only stainLESS not rust proof). FWIW most commercial .44 Russian ammo made over the years is either BP, BP substitute like Pyrodex or 777 or if it is smokeless powder, they are typically very light "cowboy" loads and you should adjust damage down to compensate for that. The reason for that as you know is that you wouldn't want to run full power smokeless loads in something like a S&W First Model Double Action. For .45 Colt, you sometimes run across cowboy level loads. Does the damage take into account different bullet designs? Antique ammo is usually going to be plain lead slugs... but .44 Mag ammo is mostly going to be JHP unless it is FMJ range ammo, but that's not all that common as even a lot of the cheaper .44 Mag loads like Blazer are JHP. .45 Colt you'll find a pretty wide variety of different bullet types and weights over the counter. Of course what is available in a game world is up to the GM...

    1. The modern rifling is probably more susceptible to powder fouling from black-powder too.

      In an era where light cowboy loads are the norm for .44 Russian, use the special or magnums!

      Hollow points up the damage mod to pi++, but add an armor divisor of 0.5. The default state for the weapons tables is ball ammo, then make changes to damage and such based on the ammo the character purchased.

      The Anaconda can also take advantage of +P loads. That changes damage to 3d-1 pi+, range to 132/1,430 and ST to 11. Not a huge change, but...


Try to remember you are a guest here when you comment. Inappropriate comments will be deleted without mention. Amnesty period is expired.