Sharps vs Rolling Block?


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Cooldill
November 30, 2015, 11:04 PM
Picture this:

The year is 1875.

You're a buffalo hunter/explorer out on the Great Plains. Your hunting party is blazing a trail, hunting buffalos. There's Native American* war parties about, you might just have to fight 'em off some time. They don't take kindly to you and your pards being on their land.

You've got a trusty rifle that is ready for the job. It's chambered in the Army's new .45-70 cartridge, big old bullets they are. Excellent for harvesting buffalos and you can hit a Native American* near as far as you can see 'em.

But your rifle... is it an 1874 Sharps, or a Remington Rolling Block?

Which would you choose, and why? :)

*I do not mean for the term "Native American" to offend anyone. If this term offends you, I apologize in advance.

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ROAshooter
November 30, 2015, 11:07 PM
Neither...J M Browning 1885 High Wall for me.....falling block....stronger than a Sharps

Cooldill
November 30, 2015, 11:09 PM
I appreciate that, but you can't jump forward in time a decade. Remember, it's 1875. :D

cpt-t
November 30, 2015, 11:40 PM
Cooldill: I shoot both a Pedersoli Sharps in 45-70 and a Pedersoli Rolling Block in 45-70. And I can`t really tell you which one I like the best or why. Both are just great to shoot and extremely accurate, and both shoot the same load very well. I shoot both rifles a lot and really enjoy shooting both of them. So I would have to give you a really stupid ansewer. The rifle I like the best, I guess is the one I am shooting at the time. I have been told by several people that should know, that the Rolling Block is less prone to breakage, than the Sharps. But don`t quote me on that. Like I said I really like them both.
ken

Shanghai McCoy
November 30, 2015, 11:47 PM
I chose the Sharps because I have one and enjoy the heck out of it. I have shouldered a rolling block and it just wasn't a good fit for me.
YMMV

delrom418
December 1, 2015, 12:11 AM
For shooting buffalo, it's a horse apiece on the Sharps vs. Rolling Block. For an Indian attack I would rather have the Rolling Block. In the heat of battle the Sharps firing pin can be broken if you forget to pull the hammer to half-cock before lowering the lever.

Cooldill
December 1, 2015, 01:49 AM
Thanks guys!

I am interested in this Pedersoli '74 Sharps from Dixie Gun Works:

http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product_info.php?products_id=2574

It's only $1175.00, which seems low for a Sharps. Does anyone know if this gun is any good? :confused:

TruthTellers
December 1, 2015, 02:57 AM
Rolling Block. I like the falling block action, it's the strongest action around, but for the late 19th Century and just black powder loads, the Rolling Block is so wizard.

delrom418
December 1, 2015, 04:29 AM
Sure it's a good rifle, but let's define "good". It's a Pedersoli so it's actually a great rifle. The barrel and action are manufactured the same, and are made of the same materials as their more expensive rifles. Other great qualities are the double set triggers, 1:18 twist, .458 groove diameter, and the tang is drilled for a tang sight. This rifle will shoot with the best of them.

What may not be perceived as "good" is the finish. It's not blued, it's a matte finish. I don't know what the coating is, but when I see it I think of high temperature, flat black, barbeque grill paint. They also saved money by not using a high grade of wood, and they left off the nice "silver" forearm tip.

I have this same rifle, but I bought it from Cabelas. They called it a Sharps Hunter. Dixie calls it a Lightweight/Target Hunter Rifle. If you go to the Pedersoli website they call it something else (Business Rifle?) Anyways..... I stripped the matte finish, and refinished the wood. I was going for an "old-timey" look so I just cold blued it, but intentionally didn't do a perfect job. Then I spent some time bringing out the figure and grain of the wood. I was trying to make look like it spent some time in buffalo country. Now I think it looks great. It shoots good too. I use it for the long range competition at Cowboy Action Shooting matches

eastbank
December 1, 2015, 05:36 AM
they both have plus and minus points, for the black powder shooter the sharps is easier to take apart to clean, but the roller may be stronger( if newer made). i own and shoot,rollers,sharps, high and low wall,s and rugers. eastbank.

DeepSouth
December 1, 2015, 07:07 AM
I'll take the sharps, but I want the Big 50, not the 45-70.
As for why, that's what I have and I love it.


delrom418, you can't give details like that and pics, come on don't be a tease.

MEHavey
December 1, 2015, 07:14 AM
I am interested in this Pedersoli '74 Sharps from Dixie Gun Works:
http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product...oducts_id=2574
It's only $1175.00, which seems low for a Sharps. Does anyone know
if this gun is any good?Naaaaaahhh.....

http://i68.tinypic.com/2j5gie0.jpg

It's no good.

bannockburn
December 1, 2015, 07:39 AM
I voted for the Sharps 1874 primarily because I the way it looks versus the Remington Rolling Block. Both are great rifles and I would be thrilled to have either one.

dh1633pm
December 1, 2015, 08:10 AM
As history would tell us, the Rollers were much more common than the Sharps. I would go Roller, I already have two originals. Nice triggers and good shooters.

Jim Watson
December 1, 2015, 10:28 AM
Pedersolis are the best of the Italians, barrels are the same no matter the action type.
I have seen far more Sharps than Rolling Blocks at BPCR matches, don't recall what I saw on buffalo hunts.
I think most of the zillions of Rolling Blocks went to foreign military contracts while the shorter lived Sharps Rifle Co. was nearly all commercial sales after the War. So I would not bet that Remingtons were more common on the frontier.

If you want to just squeak in under the chronological wire, the C. Sharps Model of 1875 is a very fine rifle and not that much more expensive than a Pedersoli, if you can stay off the option list.

BSA1
December 1, 2015, 10:57 AM
Another vote for the Rolling Block.

Simplier to load and clean. Accepted by several foreign countries for issue to their Armies.

p.s. A fella stopped by our hunting camp yesterday. Said he was looking for investors in his new invention. He called it moving pictures show. He says it will show moving pictures on a big screen inside a building.

Then he told a real whopper about the people in the movie picture show talking!

He was so sincere and convincing I was ready to invest in his new invention until I asked him what the moving pictures shows would be about. I threw him out of the camp after he said one of them was going to be about a fella using Sharps Rifle to shoot bad guys at long range.

Don McDowell
December 1, 2015, 12:19 PM
Picture this:

The year is 1875.

You're a buffalo hunter/explorer out on the Great Plains. Your hunting party is blazing a trail, hunting buffalos. There's "injun" war parties about, you might just have to fight 'em off some time. They don't take kindly to you and your pards being on their land.

You've got a trusty rifle that is ready for the job. It's chambered in the Army's new .45-70 cartridge, big old bullets they are. Excellent for harvesting buffalos and you can hit an injun near as far as you can see 'em.

But your rifle... is it an 1874 Sharps, or a Remington Rolling Block?

Which would you choose, and why? :)
1875, it would be the Sharps in 44-77. The 45 govt. cartridge is a bit anemic and not overly available. The 44 2 1/4 bn is the most popular chamber in both Remington and Sharps rifles and has a reputation of being able to shoot thru and kill 2 buffalo at 500 yds with a single round.
The Remington rifle has a tendancy to shoot backwards when the chamber gets dirty, and sometimes not even then, just if a shell is hard to chamber and you put extra pressure on the breechblock... Kaboom you've got a hand and faceful of shrapnel from the exploding case.

dh1633pm
December 1, 2015, 01:28 PM
Remington almost as many Rolling Blocks in a Month than Sharps did during their entire run. Buffalo hunters preferred the sharps due to accuracy with the Remington second. Yes, most went overseas. But they were there in as many numbers if not more than the Sharps. The No 1 was pretty popular. Nothing here takes away from the Sharps. People forget about the Rollers and their mark on the West.

Don McDowell
December 1, 2015, 02:06 PM
When you read the various accounts of the old hide hunters and look at the inventory lists of the various trading firms, there's precious little mention of the Remington. Not to say they weren't there, but they weren't there in as large of numbers as the Sharps.

barnbwt
December 1, 2015, 02:27 PM
Is "Peabody" an option?

Wisco
December 1, 2015, 02:35 PM
Why has a racial slur - used twice in one post - stood unedited since last night?

Perhaps no one knows better, so I'll educate you: "Injun" - That's a disgusting, offensive, ignorant and antiquated way to refer to Natives.

Don McDowell
December 1, 2015, 02:44 PM
Is "Peabody" an option?
The really interesting thing about Peabody is the 45-70 was their brain child and three versions of it, with rifles were presented in 1864/5 military rifle trials. The rifle and the 480 gr bullet actually topped all the tests, but in the end the War Dept shelved any new rifles and ammunition, until 1873,,, and son of a gun look at this new cartridge....

loose noose
December 1, 2015, 04:23 PM
I have both, however I prefer my Sharps 45-70, using Mil-Spec black powder loads, I've consistently hit the 16" gong at 500 yards. Further it definitely put a big whitetail down at 75 yards, umpteen years ago in UP Michigan.

Wisco, don't be so politically correct, this is after all a gun forum.

Coyote3855
December 1, 2015, 04:38 PM
Why has a racial slur - used twice in one post - stood unedited since last night?

Perhaps no one knows better, so I'll educate you: "Injun" - That's a disgusting, offensive, ignorant and antiquated way to refer to Natives.

Yup. Caught my attention as well. Just as offensive as the "N" word, but not so many people objecting. While we're on that topic, squaw is also an offensive term to Native Americans. USGS is changing many maps and place names to eliminate that reference.

To stay on topic, I've always wanted a Sharps, so that would be my choice. At my age, I will probably never own one. I would take the .45-70 just because of ammo availability. That's now, I'm not sure about back in the day.

Wisco
December 1, 2015, 05:35 PM
Wisco, don't be so politically correct, this is after all a gun forum.

Politics has nothing to do with the racial slur used in this thread. "Injun" is offensive to myself and every other Native I know.

This is a gun forum, but from what I see, quickly becoming a place where many, like myself, are unwelcome.

I stopped on this thread because I have a Shiloh Sharps, not because I am an ethnic minority looking to be offended.

Jimster
December 1, 2015, 05:40 PM
This country is full of overly sensitive and easily offended bed wetters. For Petes sake, where's John Wayne when you need him? And by the way, rolling blocks are ugly and Sharps rule the day. Percussion and cartridge.

Wisco
December 1, 2015, 06:11 PM
This country is full of overly sensitive and easily offended bed wetters.

The only thing for which I ask from my fellow humans is mutual respect. It says more about them than it does about me when they insist on disrespect, double down in it, and defend it.

Jim Watson
December 1, 2015, 06:16 PM
Peabody came out at tag end of Civil War, so would have been somewhat available for buffalo hunting. Like Remington, they sold a lot of their production to foreign militaries.

Might have been some buffalo shot with Ballards and Maynards, too.
And untold numbers of military surplus rifles.

.45 Gov't anemic?
Not very well distributed in the commercial market in 1975, maybe; the Army only got it in 1873 along with the SAA .45.

Buffalo Bill's Lucrezia Borgia was a Trapdoor .50-70.

Cooldill
December 1, 2015, 07:25 PM
Okay, I changed the "I" word to "Native American". Sorry if I offended anyone! I was not under the impression that that term is offensive to the native peoples of... oh there I go again, I don't know what to say without offending so I just used "Native American" and I'm sorry in advance if that term itself is offensive.

Don McDowell
December 1, 2015, 07:57 PM
.45 Gov't anemic?
Not very well distributed in the commercial market in 1975, maybe; the Army only got it in 1873 along with the SAA .45.

Anemic when compared to the cartridges that were favored on the plains.
Remington's 1875 catalog doesn't even list the 45 govt.

highlander 5
December 1, 2015, 08:40 PM
My vote is for the Sharps,I own a Shiloh Sharps long range express and have to admit it's quite accurate at the distances I shoot. My only complaint is that I it weighs in at 14 lbs but on the other hand recoil is negligible.

Wisco
December 1, 2015, 09:29 PM
kay, I changed the "I" word to "Native American". Sorry if I offended anyone! I was not under the impression that that term is offensive to the native peoples of... oh there I go again, I don't know what to say without offending so I just used "Native American" and I'm sorry in advance if that term itself is offensive.

That is sincerely appreciated. The term is offensive, but thankfully not used much any longer. Native American, American Indian, native are typically suitable. These days one never knows quite what to call some ethnic groups without giving offense, so I understand.

barnbwt
December 1, 2015, 10:03 PM
"if a shell is hard to chamber and you put extra pressure on the breechblock... Kaboom you've got a hand and faceful of shrapnel from the exploding case."
It is pretty apparent that a breech failure in the RB is gonna be ugly (whereas it's basically impossible with the Sharps), but were such failures all that common before the 20th century steel actions? I'm not an expert on ancient metallurgy ;)

"rolling blocks are ugly and Sharps rule the day"
Rolling blocks have two hammers & a funky reload but are quite narrow/handy, while the Sharps action looks like a stubby fist and feels like one, too. That's why I like the Peabody; it's still got the percussion-cap-era mule ear hammer on the side, is quite strong (probably second only to the Sharps at the time), and has a very slender and dignified silhouette. Perfect post-bellum cartridge gun :cool:

"This is a gun forum, but from what I see, quickly becoming a place where many, like myself, are unwelcome."
The only person stamping their feet, is you. The rest of us are sighing heavily with resignation. Clearly no insult was meant, clearly no harm done. Not good enough for someone with an axe to grind, though (the folksy inclusion of American genocide/indian* warfare is itself far more 'offensive' than the specific group referred to, and even then it's an entirely accurate scenario within the context of the time period)

TCB

*the "pejorative" is the same word with a southern accented pronunciation (or is it British?). Plenty of more important things for aggrieved native Americans to complain about than ancient slang no longer used pejoratively.

Wisco
December 1, 2015, 10:14 PM
Not good enough for someone with an axe to grind, though

Maybe you can't read well and comprehend, but we were done here a couple posts ago.


And if you're not native, you're speaking far out of turn.

Don McDowell
December 1, 2015, 10:17 PM
barnbwt, not talking about breech failure. The rolling block firing pin would protrude, and just closing the breech block set off the primer, so the entire case head of the cartridge was exposed and unsupported.
Sharps also had a similar problem when the gun got fouled, if the shooter used something to pry the shell in far enough to close the breech, it was possible to set the primer off causing the exposed case to explode. That's what prompted Fruend to make his "improvement" to the Sharps action.

Cooldill
December 1, 2015, 10:31 PM
Sorry guys, I feel pretty bad right now. I spelled the word as I originally did because I thought that was the "Southern" pronunciation of the word. I was not aware that it was pejorative of the Native American race, of which I greatly admire. I will be more careful next time!

Wisco
December 1, 2015, 10:39 PM
Sorry guys, I feel pretty bad right now. I spelled the word as I originally did because I thought that was the "Southern" pronunciation of the word. I was not aware that it was pejorative of the Native American race, of which I greatly admire. I will be more careful next time!

No worries. I don't think you meant anything malicious at all. It's just a word that, in the current era, is akin to the N word for most natives.

I'm more concerned that most responses to me have been to attack me for bringing up the faux pas.

Less people using offensive language in polite conversation can't be a bad thing, right?

delrom418
December 2, 2015, 12:06 AM
What I find offensive is that someone would vote for the Rolling Block over the Sharps!
(haha, just kidding of course:))

Wisco
December 2, 2015, 12:32 AM
What I find offensive is that someone would vote for the Rolling Block over the Sharps!

Haha - and there are 7 of them!

I think the Rolling Block is a neat action and truly fun to work and shoot, but no match for the Sharps action in strength.

lawboy
December 2, 2015, 12:52 AM
RB. I own one and have owned another in 45-70. I also have fired the Sharps extensively. The RB is faster, lighter, and simpler. It is a better fighting gun. Either will knock over large mammals.

StrawHat
December 2, 2015, 09:12 AM
I have owned or used a variety of rifles from that era. The one I usually grab for a day in the woods is a Springfield Single Shot rifle, chambered for the 50-70 but the 45-70 would work also. Next for me, the Rolling Block. The Sharps never did it for me. I have tried several times and sold them to someone who saw the movie and "needed" a Sharps.

Kevin

jim in Anchorage
December 2, 2015, 09:41 AM
Why has a racial slur - used twice in one post - stood unedited since last night?

Perhaps no one knows better, so I'll educate you: "Injun" - That's a disgusting, offensive, ignorant and antiquated way to refer to Natives.
Oh good Lord. If I had a nickel for every time I've been called a Pollock I'd be rich. Who cares?

joem1945
December 2, 2015, 11:37 AM
I voted for the RB because I have one made in 1882 all matching with crown proof marks.

2zulu1
December 2, 2015, 12:33 PM
Oh good Lord. If I had a nickel for every time I've been called a Pollock I'd be rich. Who cares?
I care!

BobWright
December 2, 2015, 12:49 PM
I'm not much of a hand with the rifle, and have little experience with either ones mentioned.

But from what I've learned I'd go with the Sharps.

A black powder rifle in those days fouled pretty quickly, and I think the extra leverage provided by the under lever would be a benefit in ejecting fired cases, over the limited leverage of the rolling blocks rather short handle.

Bob Wright

Dain Bramage
December 2, 2015, 12:50 PM
Oh good Lord. If I had a nickel for every time I've been called a Pollock I'd be rich. Who cares?

To be fair, do you resemble a fish in any way?

Rio Laxas
December 2, 2015, 01:14 PM
I'd probably take whichever one was available and that I could afford, but I am much more inclined towards the Sharps.

I had a Pedersoli Rolling Block carbine, and I have a Shiloh Sharps 1874. I'm not sure if my perspective would have been drastically different in 1875, but there's something that appeals to me about the Sharps that I didn't get with the rolling block.

tark
December 2, 2015, 08:19 PM
A few points. I would love either one. Both had their good points and their bad. The rollers were simpler and easier to manipulate quickly, but they were difficult to load when they got filthy. The sharps were able to handle larger cartridges, and the action was stronger, but if you forgot to half cock it before lowering the breech block you ran the risk of breaking the tip of the firing pin. The roller was (still is) cheaper and simpler to manufacture. The sharps is one of the most classic and beautiful rifles ever made. Rollers are good looking in a sporting configuration but nothing like the Sharps.

I voted for the Rolling Block because I just like the diabolically simple design of the thing. It is stupid simple and it does everything asked of it.

So stupid simple I can make them myself, a 45-70 and a 30-06. :)

BCRider
December 2, 2015, 08:23 PM
I shot a few Sharps rifles belonging to buddies before I looked into the options and got my own rifles of that period.

I really lusted after the 1885. And I got one recently when I came across a Pedersoli/Taylors 1885 chambered in my preferred .38-55.

But my first was an old Danish rolling block that had been re-barrelled with a Shiloh octagonal in .38-55.

Both just seem lighter, sleeker and generally less clunky than the Sharps. Personal preference I know. But there it is.

In fact I'd want to get a trapdoor before I went for a Sharps. I guess I'm just contrary that way....

Driftwood Johnson
December 3, 2015, 12:35 AM
Howdy

One advantage of the Rolling Block over the Sharps is there is no lever under the Rolling Block. Easier to operate if you are in cramped space. Quicker to load too.

I have this Pedersoli Sharps. On mine, the barrel is polished and blued, not a matte finish, but I have seen them with the matte finish.

Keep checking back with Dixie, they periodically put some models on sale. I paid $800 for mine, about $200 less than the standard price at the time.

https://www.dixiegunworks.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_92_184&products_id=2576&osCsid=1c91mco67b01tde0cds5neks31

Gtscotty
December 3, 2015, 01:03 AM
To be fair, do you resemble a fish in any way?

..... Nice.

eastbank
December 3, 2015, 02:59 PM
we all came from somewhere, there was a time in earths history that there were no humans here, some walked,some came by boat and some by airplane. eastbank.

MrBorland
December 3, 2015, 03:21 PM
ok, folks, the unintended slur was raised as an issue, dealt with, apology sincerely offered and apology sincerely accepted by the parties involved. So lets move on and get back to Sharps vs Rolling Block, eh?

Cooldill
December 3, 2015, 05:36 PM
Okay guys... I'm beginning to feel like a real nut but... what about a .30-30 Rolling Block? :eek:

Yes, I know, it doesn't have the true old west caliber, but it came out in 1895 so that was when Rolling Blocks were still being made/used. Better than one in .300 Blackout or something!! LOL!!

Would you guys like a .30-30 Win Rolling Block? Pedersoli makes one, and it sure looks sweet!

dh1633pm
December 3, 2015, 05:52 PM
Cooldill, I considered that. I had a No 5 that in serious need of something. 30-30 would be about right, but I don't already load for it. I then considered 45-70, but it is more expensive that other choices. Already have an 1895G. I was really set on 45 ACP. I don't load it already, but I have bullets and powder that would work. I then settled on 45 Colt. I have plenty of brass, bullets and powder. The barrel blanks are cheap enough. Gunsmith has no issues working with it. So I had my No 5 re-barreled in 45 Colt. 1 inch bull sixteen inches long. I had a rail made for the top. Yes they had those in 1902 didn't they? Happy with the choice. It shoots well. I will finish up the project over the winter. But I like it so far. Cheap scope in the picture just to see how it looks. Forearm isn't done. Just about finished with the butt stock. And yes that is a brass butt plate.

Wisco
December 3, 2015, 06:00 PM
Okay guys... I'm beginning to feel like a real nut but... what about a .30-30 Rolling Block? :eek:



I don't load my own, but you've got some great possibilities with a wide range of bullets in a single shot 30-30.

tark
December 3, 2015, 07:34 PM
dh1633pm thats a nice looking roller. Let us see it when you are finished in the spring!

Cooldill, Remington did make the rolling block in 30-30, late in its life. It was called the #5 sporting rifle and it was also chambered in 30-40, 7mm Mauser, and .303 British. It never caught on , in 1900 sportsmen preferred Winchester Repeaters. Only 198 rifles were sold and survivors today are worth a fortune.

This was the rolling block I copied when I made my 30-06.

Cooldill
December 3, 2015, 09:32 PM
Thanks gang! Santa will have to stop by my house this year LOL! :)

Don McDowell
December 4, 2015, 10:42 AM
If a person wanted a 30-30 single shot the rolling block would be as good as any.

John C
December 4, 2015, 04:41 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read that the main reason the buffalo hunters liked the Sharps is that it would chamber the long cartridges that were coming out at the time, like the .45-110 and .50-110. The Rolling Block had a maximum COAL that it would accept, and like any group of young men, the buffalo hunters wanted more power. I've never fired either, but it appears to me that the besides the cartridge length limitation, the Rolling Block is a superior design, within the limits of the strength required to hold the cartridges of the day.

The one area in which the Sharps shines is recoil control. A heavier rifle would be a lot easier to shoot all day long. For exploring, I'd prefer the lighter RB. For campaigning, the RB is less susceptible to dirt and grime, since the action is closed on the bottom. It's also faster to fire.

Old judge creek
December 4, 2015, 07:19 PM
I've had a Shiloh Sharps for close to 20 years now.

It wears a mid-range Soule tang sight, a spirit level globe front sight, and a Hadley eyepiece. My all purpose lower 48 cartridge is a 405 grain cast bullet loaded to 1475 fps (+/-).

I can hit 'most anything I can see out to 650 yards and we have a rock on a hill side about the size of an "office" refrigerator that we regularly "shoot" at 900 yards.

I'd take the Sharps over the Rolling Block time and again.

tark
December 4, 2015, 07:33 PM
John C hit the nail right on the head, or at least partially. Rolling Blocks can and did accept long cartridges.....as long (pun intentional) as they weren't too large in diameter. The Creedmoor rifles used calibers up to 45 and case lengths up to 2 and 7/8" but that was about the limit. Any larger in diameter and you had to use a short case. You will never see a roller in 50-90 or 50-140.

Onmilo
December 6, 2015, 01:40 PM
I've never had a taste for rolling blocks after I flipped the block up on one checking the fit of some hand loaded .45/70s and put a 450 grain lead slug through two walls, a couch, lengthwise, and a ping pong table when the hammer jumped the full cock notch and sheared the half cock notch.
That was almost 40 years ago.
One of the most dangerous actions ever developed.

Don McDowell
December 6, 2015, 01:57 PM
The Sharps rifles were better able to handle the heavy barrels the hide hunters preferred, for both the ability to shoot longer without heating up and "shooting wild", and dampen the affect of recoil.
Keep in mind very few of the "long" cartridges saw as much action in the hide trade as did the 44 bn, and 50-70.

col.lemat
December 6, 2015, 02:35 PM
Got a original Remington in 45/110, one inch diameter barrel 32 inches long, 48 over all length, weighs12 pounds, barrel is marked Carlos Gove, Denver, Tang sight as well as regular sight on barrel. Hammer nose has been modified for the longer shells. Last kill shot was at a buffalo in Arizona in 99 at 300 yards. documented with photos.

BCRider
December 6, 2015, 04:32 PM
On the historical side of things I was just watching Hicock45's video on shooting a Uberti 1885 falling block. He makes mention that by the time the 1885 hit the market that the heyday of the bigger buffalo shoots was drawing to a close. So that might be the proper reason why there were not many 1885's seen on the plains for long enough and often enough to be made mention of.

Onmilo's post above does raise an issue with the rolling block style action. I've checked loaded ammo in my own but never "flipped" things around. But in the future I might just have to arrange for some sort of tie down for the hammer as an added safety measure for ammo checking at home.

Referencing Hicock's video again he notes that some of the early 1885 guns would come up at full cock when the block was raised. And how this was later changed to half cock and that is how the Uberti works today. Perhaps there were a few cases early on which caused Winchester and JMB to modify the action to come up in half cock.

tark
December 6, 2015, 05:59 PM
Onmilo's bad experience is an interesting one. I assume he is talking about a #1 action, the largest. One way this could happen is for the top of the trigger, which functions as the sear, to break off completely. I have never heard of this but it is certainly possible. The only other way is for the the spring powering the lock lever to have broken. The lock lever prevents the trigger being pulled with the action open. If it doesn't function, and the trigger is pulled with the breechblock open, the hammer will be released.....and closing the breechblock will let it fall. It should STILL be caught be the half cock notch, but I have seen Rollers with the leg on the half cock broken off. It is entirely possible that that was what happened.

But one of the most dangerous actions ever made? I don't think so. Rolling block rifles have an enviable reputation for ruggedness and simplicity. They are very strong, and my 30-06, made from 4140, ate an 80,000 PSI proof load and several hundred factory loads since. They fixed the protruding firing pin problem very early on with a retraction device. they were used in every climate from tropical to near arctic, and they gained a reputation second to none.

Besides, Custer's favorite rifle was a sporting Roller in 50-70, which was the longest a 50, cal round that would fit in the action. I voted with Custer. (But I won't ride into battle with him!!!)

gunnerh
December 7, 2015, 10:59 AM
I have 2 RB, a Mexican 7X57 and .43 Spanish rebuilt in 45 colt. I got the 7mm in 1961 from an ad in one of gun mags. With long 170ish bullets, it shoots 3 inches at 100. I got my 1st deer with it. I took the 45 colt and some cash as payment for a goat. Put a old Lyman peep sight on it. I trained my kids and they kids with it. Great transtion from .22s . Light and simple to use. I have a Siles 45/70 with 22" 1/2 round I like it but not like my RBs.:)
See if you can handle each one and pick the one you like. No wrong picks here. Enjoy

Jim Watson
December 7, 2015, 11:44 AM
Referencing Hicock's video again he notes that some of the early 1885 guns would come up at full cock when the block was raised. And how this was later changed to half cock and that is how the Uberti works today. Perhaps there were a few cases early on which caused Winchester and JMB to modify the action to come up in half cock.

Half cock on closing was an option from Winchester. No extra charge on a rifle with set triggers but $2 on a gun with plain trigger or $1 to have added to an existing rifle. I cannot imagine that it was popular on a rifle that cost $10-$15 in 1901. Mine sure doesn't have it, nor does my Miroku Browning for that matter.

I think the Winder .22 Musket which was intended for the Cadet program was standard with the half cock start. Think Junior ROTC with kids being taught to shoot.
Apparently Uberti puts us all in the same category as junior high students. I understand that the action link can be reversed or replaced to give normal full cock operation.

Onmilo
December 8, 2015, 03:53 AM
Onmilo's bad experience is an interesting one. I assume he is talking about a #1 action, the largest. One way this could happen is for the top of the trigger, which functions as the sear, to break off completely. I have never heard of this but it is certainly possible. The only other way is for the the spring powering the lock lever to have broken. The lock lever prevents the trigger being pulled with the action open. If it doesn't function, and the trigger is pulled with the breechblock open, the hammer will be released.....and closing the breechblock will let it fall. It should STILL be caught be the half cock notch, but I have seen Rollers with the leg on the half cock broken off. It is entirely possible that that was what happened.

But one of the most dangerous actions ever made? I don't think so. Rolling block rifles have an enviable reputation for ruggedness and simplicity. They are very strong, and my 30-06, made from 4140, ate an 80,000 PSI proof load and several hundred factory loads since. They fixed the protruding firing pin problem very early on with a retraction device. they were used in every climate from tropical to near arctic, and they gained a reputation second to none.

Besides, Custer's favorite rifle was a sporting Roller in 50-70, which was the longest a 50, cal round that would fit in the action. I voted with Custer. (But I won't ride into battle with him!!!)

Yes it was an OLD #1 action from an Egyptian or some such ordered rifle rebarrelled to .45/70
The trigger had sheared a chunk off at some point and when I flipped the block up that one time what was left let go.
I have no idea how long the gun had been in that state but I was always impressed by how light and crisp the trigger was on that rifle...

The Remington action is actually stronger than any of the Sharps actions including the 1875.
The only thing that bested it was the Browning designed 1885 and frankly, Browning could best about anybody when it came to simple, sound, strong gun designs.
The Remington is also much better design for accommodating a large heavy barrel.
The rear frame tangs are longer and stronger than the Sharps and take center of balance stresses much better meaning the stock isn't inclined to crack like the Sharps rifles with heavy barrels.
The top of the front receiver ring is also thicker and stronger than the Sharps which means an extra heavy barrel won't cause the receiver ring to crack with heavy use.
Mind you I don't hate the Remington action, I just think it is the most dangerous practical design.
Then again, I've not unintentionally put a bullet through a couch with a Sharps or and 1885 either....

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