Original Sharps 1863 carbine


December 22, 2010, 07:14 PM
Sometime in the near future I have nice little carbine coming. I need tips about what calibre and type of bullet to use. Was thinking of ordering a mold from Dixie gun works. Think the one they have throws .535 cal bullet, and these guns are .52 right? They also had bullets in different sizes, up to .544 I think. When I have that out of the way, all I need to learn is to make combustible cartridges. So, please tell me all I need to know!

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December 23, 2010, 10:54 AM
This YouTube video was recently posted about the 1859 version:


From this thread:


December 23, 2010, 11:52 AM
Thanks Arcticap, I'll check that out if I haven't seen it already.

- The question is though; what cal. and type of bullet or mold do I need?

December 23, 2010, 07:35 PM
I suggest trying the North-South Skirmish Association at www.n-ssa-org

They have a much deeper knowledge of the guns.

December 23, 2010, 08:46 PM
I've been looking at the n-ssa too a little bit. After reading a little more at dixie gun works, it seems their mold is the correct one.

December 26, 2010, 10:39 AM
Before ordering anything wait until you can inspect the rifle. Many had oversized bores and to get the best accuracy need a differsnt size bullet. When the Gov't asked Sharps to convert the percussion rifles to cartridge, anything over 52 caliber was sleeved to use the 50-70 cartridge. Anything under 52 caliber was rechambered and fitted with a new block. Lots of variation there.

December 28, 2010, 02:10 PM
Is it still percussion? My original New Model 1863 was converted by the Army with a three groove barrel liner, and other parts, for the 50-70 cartridge.

December 28, 2010, 02:53 PM
Here, take a look for yourself! It's still in its original configuration;


December 29, 2010, 09:38 AM
Very nice! That's percussion all right. I can see why you're interested, it's a beautiful piece.

December 29, 2010, 07:49 PM
Your REALLY gonna want to WAIT until you get the carbine inhand so you can have the bore checked for the EXACT diameter. They varied a lot and it is very important you get not only the correct mold but the correct sizer for the rounds if you expect to hit anything accurately. Your best bet is to visit the N-SSA web site and post under the Shooting Tips& Tricks section as we shoot these in live fire competition and the wealth of knowledge there is unmatched anywhere on the net!

====> http://n-ssa.org/phpBB3/

You can even post the serial number and they'll tell you when/where it was made and maybe even the unit it was issued to during the War of Northern Aggression as it be known in the South! =)

Hope this helps
Justin Kelly 7th Virginia Vol Inf.

January 7, 2011, 10:59 AM
Okay, I got the gun today. Slugged the barrel and the ball measures in at 13.58 mm, ie .535 inches. The mold at Dixie guns is the same, .535. Is it alright to use a bullet the exact same size as the bore?

January 7, 2011, 04:37 PM
Not really as accuracy will suffer. The problem is just because the mold claims a certain dia. DON'T mean that what it will cast. When the cutting cherry was first made it may have cut the molds at .534 then as it wore up to the point where it was trashed it may have been as high as .539 This is pretty common with all mold makers. It's best to post wanting to buy a mold on a place like the N-SSA as you'll know the exact size of the bullet cast before you buy it.

There is a mold on Egay right now that should work also. It's a rapine mold that originally sold for $120. It's at $36 now w/ $12 shipping.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Rapine-Bullet-Mold- ... 19c2298ec8

January 7, 2011, 06:26 PM
It's gone.

January 7, 2011, 11:27 PM
Just because someone else claimed how it had cast for them, due to the different alloys that folks use, one can never know what the actual bullet size will be for a used mold.
However, new Lee molds are known for being very precise and a sizing die isn't very expensive if the bullet diameter was an issue.

Jim Watson
January 8, 2011, 11:28 AM
The Shiloh board has a forum for the "papercutters."
You can probably get good information about this original as well as their reproductions.

January 8, 2011, 01:40 PM
Thanks, I'll link this thread at that forum.

January 8, 2011, 07:24 PM
I posting on Sharps molds


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