1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

"Paper-cartridge" Sharps Rifle experience?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by ArmedBear, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    Anyone shoot the 1859 or 63?

    I've always been curious, and now I may have a reason to satisfy my curiosity.

    How much of a PITA are they to load?

    Can you load loose powder at the range, or do you need to use a paper cartridge?

    Ever used the reusable brass cartridges they sell for them?

    Any idea of ballistics? Can they equal a BP .45-70 load in an 1874 Sharps?

    Thanks to anyone who knows!
  2. Iggy

    Iggy Well-Known Member

    You should use paper cartridges.. They are kind of a pain but still fun.

    You can also load with loose powder, but you really need to take care not to spill any down in the action when doing so.. There is usually enough gas leakage to possibly make things real interesting if some powder ignites outside the chamber.:what:

    I have no experience with the brass cases for pc guns, so I can't help you there.

    They will probably not be equal to the ballistics of a cartridge gun. There is nothing wrong with the pc guns if you are willing to live within it's limitations.

    I have had both.. I didn't keep the pc gun very long.
    I have had a Sharp's 45-70 for many years and have taken Antelope,Deer and Elk with it..
  3. Malamute

    Malamute Well-Known Member

    WAAY back in the 1900's, I had an early (NY) Shilo 50 cal percussion carbine. I never used paper cartridges in it, it worked fine with the 450 gr Lyman bullet for the 50-70. I used a short starter to seat the bullet into the bullet part of the chamber, and it would take about 80 grains of 3f that way. The bullet section of the chamber was smooth, and smaller than the powder chamber. A bullet wouldn't drop into the forward part of the chamber without the short starter. I don't recall the details of the manual, or if I ever had one, but I believe the gun was intended to be loaded this way when not using paper cartridges. This loading would be a bit above 45-70 black powder level, but not a lot.
  4. mec

    mec Well-Known Member

    I shot an SC Robinson Carbine from Pedersoli in conjunction with a series on Civil War Guns (GUNS Magazine) last year. I used the {expensive} nitrated paper kit from Dixie to make catridges:
    ". I found the S.C Robinson very nicely balanced for off-hand shooting and managed a seven inch cluster on a silhouette at seventy-five yards. The open, fixed sights are highly visible and regulated very well for this range. The load-eighty grains of Goex 2Fg and three hundred and ninety-five grain .544-inch bullet- churns out about the same energy as some of the currently popular fifty caliber hunting revolver rounds but recoil is unobjectionable. I had used the Dixie Sharps Cartridge Kit to roll authentic looking combustibles using white household glue to affix the bullets. . The instructions with the cartridge kit presuppose loading the bullet separately and creating a powder-only cartridge tube. My gluing in bullets probably explains why some of the nitrated paper didn't catch and remained smoldering in the barrel and chamber. To avoid explosion, I ran a patch through the barrel after each shot and avoided any attempt at rapid fire. I found that I could fire a maximum of five rounds between cleanings before the action became hard to work. Wiping the breach mechanism with a solvent-moistened rag every couple of shots was sufficient to allow sustained shooting. A more seasoned Sharp Shooter using Pedersoli metallic cartridge cases would be able to achieve the specified ten shots per minute".

    S.C Robinson Carbine Cartridge 395 Grain .544" Bullet
    Dixie product #bu0903
    80 Grains Goex FFg

    Velocity 979 Fps Energy 766 ft/lbs Extreme Spread 82 Fps

    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  5. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    Thanks, mec.

    The way you did it sounds like a real PITA for field use.

    I do wonder about those brass cases they sell for the Pedersolis. If I were to get one, I'd want to be able to hunt with it, so a followup shot without unburned debris in the barrel would be desirable.:)

    I know you can get the 1874 in .45-XX calibers; I was messing with one the other day. Nice rifle. But there's something intriguing about the pre-.45-70 Sharps rifles.
  6. mec

    mec Well-Known Member

    I'm glad that came through. Not being an experience cartridge maker, I suspect the elmer's glue killed some of the nitrate on the paper. Still, the fouling buildup was considerable and I had to spit frequently in the action and clean more thoroughly every few shots just to keep it working.
  7. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    For my $1000, I suppose I'll get the .45-70.

    For the moment, I can borrow a .45-70, and my muzzleloader is probably easier to manage than the earlier Sharps.
  8. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

    Curious this should come up. Been dickering, 9only half seriousl) with someone having one of these repros. Looks like its 'outa da box'. Seen him and it a two/three shows now and asking price may be declining soon. Can't think of a good reason to buy one, but it would make an interesting companion to the 1863 Springfield repro I've already got..... >MW
  9. Malamute

    Malamute Well-Known Member

    "....and my muzzleloader is probably easier to manage than the earlier Sharps."

    If using loose powder and bullets, the percussion Sharps is pretty simple. If the bullet requires a short starter to seat, that is all you need. After seating the bullet, fill the chamber behind it with loose powder, and let the breech block scrape off the excess powder. I believe you can also just drop the bullet in and then charge the chamber, but the charge will be slightly less, and accuracy may not the quite as good a seating the bullet against the rifling.
  10. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    How do you get a ball starter down the chamber?

    Isn't the action in the way?
  11. mec

    mec Well-Known Member

    dixie says to drop the bullet into the chamber and then insert the paper cartridge. Original cartridges were made of paper or linen and contained the bullet as well. This is what I did with mine.
    I can see where a short starter would be handy to seat the bullet.
  12. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    Do you think you could have solved the unburned debris issue with paper cartridges?

    Or do you think the users of the originals just didn't worry about that sort of thing and just stuffed in another cartridge?
  13. Threeband

    Threeband Well-Known Member

  14. Malamute

    Malamute Well-Known Member

    I think the elmers glue may have contributed to the smoldering residue left after firing. Reports of the early paper cartridges mention how simple they were to just drop in the cartridge, raise the block to shear off the rear of it, and cock the gun to fire (the originals had a tape primer system that moved a primer into place when you cocked the hammer, no cap to mess with).
  15. Redd Flynt

    Redd Flynt Well-Known Member

    I have the 1863 Sharps Sporting rifle by Pedersoli in .450 caliber. The use of paper carts is faster for reloading the second shot but I prefer to load with loose powder.

    The best bullets are the standard 500 grain .45-70 or any of the heavy .45 lead ones. The lighter ones don't like the 1-18 twist.

    The Lawrence Plate does an OK job of sealing the breech but it's not perfect. I get a very small amount of gas out the top.

    My loading procedure is thus; Run a short nylon brush in the chamber to knock out the crud from the previous round. Insert the bullet with a seating from the breech. Pour in powder behind the bullet and close the breech. Cap the nipple and fire.

    I made a special pouch to hold each of the loading items in the sequence used. It takes about as long to load as a standard muzzle loading rifle but is all done from the breech.

    I also keep a sectioned rod in the bag so I can clean the bore if needed.

    As to accuracy, I have an 1874 Sharps in .45-70 and both rifles will shoot the same groups.

    Regards, Redd
  16. Gustav

    Gustav Well-Known Member

    I have used both cartridge and percussion Sharps rifles and after one interesting experience pretty much now go with the only Sharps rifles shooting metallic cartridges mines in .45-70
    The paper cartridge ones are fun and can be a blast but what finally cured me was one time when I was firing my brothers .54 caliber carbine some of the powder got loose not only in the action but around it as well it was unoticed until I fired it off and the flash and effect was an eye opener to say the least.:uhoh:
    That day I won the look mom no eyebrows award.:eek:
    I learned a very valuable lesson about safety and loose powder going unoticed and I appreciated much more the metallic cartridge rifles and the evolution of all firearms that and safety goggles or glasses were worth every penny paid for them.
    I don't know about most states but the ones I have lived in require a muzzle loader for hunting so using one for that is out, the only things I would use one for would be for nostalgias sake or perhaps Civil War reenacting.
  17. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    I shot a bunch of BP .45-70 through a borrowed Pedersoli replica on Sunday. I really liked it.

    Cleaning it wasn't bad, either.

    Never was attracted to BP cartridge guns before, but that changed on Sunday.:)

Share This Page