Me and my Sharps have a few questions,,


July 28, 2008, 02:59 PM
I have an 1886 in 45-90 and recently purchased a Shiloh Sharps in the same caliber. It left me wondering a few things.

I have 300 and 350gr loads in smokeless for the 1886 and tried then in the Sharps. They stink,,,,,no kidding. They are hardcast bullets and mild loaded and they group the paper at 100yds. I had a few 405gr 45-70s and tried them and they got closer together with one decent 4 shot cluster about 3 inches.

It appears the gun likes heavier bullets. Does anyone have a favorite? Does anyone have a favorite loading?

I have never reloaded black powder and am planning on starting, what is good to read?

What is the deal with wads and do you really need them?

Paper patched, does it really make for a more accurate round?

Any other good to know stuff would be great.

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Jim Watson
July 28, 2008, 03:49 PM
Lots of good information at
menu to Technical Information, then to Dick Trenck - BP Cartridge Loading Guide.
... and whatever else looks interesting.

There is a Shiloh board with lots of information to search on and experienced shooters to ask.

I can't give specific recipes for .45-70, my only BPCR is a Winchester .38-55 that has not touched smokeless powder or hard cast bullets in ten years.

But will comment (see sig line)
Your Shiloh will do better with a relatively heavy (500 gr) bullet cast rather soft (20:1) of groove diameter (.458") or a bit larger. Black powder is more consistent than smokeless in period calibers when done right.
I am on a search for bullets I can buy that are as good as what I can cast. Next shoot in a couple of weeks.

You need a wad between black powder and the bullet base. Tablet backer cardboard or milk carton plastic will do, but you can buy fibre and poly wads that are thicker and more uniform.
Wads and fillers in smokeless loads can work great and can ruin your barrel. The difference is sometimes small and I won't use them.

Paper patching is an art all to itself; there are articles and books on the subject. Most of the shooters I know use grease groove bullets (with appropriate black powder lube), I just read about the accomplishments of the paper patchers.

July 28, 2008, 06:39 PM
Try some real bullets. 500 grains and up. The .45-90 Sharps wasn't made for lever gun ammo. :)

Check for "jump" and experiment. You probably want the bullet just against the rifling, but maybe not.

You'll probably have to load your own to get good accuracy, but when you do, the thing will shoot much better than you'd imagine.

July 28, 2008, 07:55 PM
In my 45-70 I shoot a Lyman 457125 bullet cast from wheel weights over 60 grains of Swiss 1.5, with a .030 cardboard wad over powder. The bullet is seated to just barely touch the rifling. I haven't weighed the bullets, but I think they're supposed to be 500 grains. They drop from the mold at .458.

If I do my part (which is a stretch) it can shoot 3 shot groups with all three holes touching at 100 yds.

When I used to shoot smokeless in it I used a 405 grain hard cast over 28 grains of Accurate 5744. That worked well also.

July 29, 2008, 02:34 PM
Originally the 45-90 was loaded as a counterpart to the English "express" rounds and used a relatively light 330 grain bullet with rifling to match.

Modern 45-90s have rifling set for heavier bullets.

Check your twists and let us know what you have.

Good luck.

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