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Sharps carbine loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by EddieCav, Mar 25, 2011.

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  1. EddieCav

    EddieCav Member

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    I just received my Sharps 1859 cavalry carbine. This is my first paper cartridge rifle, so I'm playing safe with it. Everything I've read so far says the max charge is 80gr FFg .......... I seated the bullet, rolled a tube and sealed the end, placed it in the chamber and marked it for depth. I filled the tube, to the line, with FFg and then measured the powder. I only got 50gr in the tube !!! Is this something to be expected??
    The tube is a snug fit, no exceptional air gap around it.
     
  2. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Tube? Are you referring to the "tube" as meaning a paper cartridge?

    What little I know about paper cartridges is they are made of nitrated paper, IIRC it's very thin paper that's been soaked in potassium nitrate, IE salt peter. Then allowed to dry. Bookies use it for writing down bets, a touch of a lit cigarette causes it to burn in a flash.

    Again, I'm not familiar with the 1859 Cavalry carbine, but isn't it a falling block action? The paper cartridge contained the powder wrapped in the nitrated paper AND the bullet with the end twisted shut. The cartridge was placed in the open breech, then the block was raised to shear off the end of the cartridge, exposing the powder to the cap spark.

    As to your load, I have no idea what it should be. What is the bore diameter/caliber?
     
  3. EddieCav

    EddieCav Member

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    Hey Snuffy !! Thanks for the response.
    "Tube" refers to the paper tube for the cartridge. The rifle is a .54 cal., and yes, the Sharps rifles are falling block design. I've done a lot of reading about paper cartridges. Enough to make me aware of what and how they function. I just wasn't sure about the loads for the gun. Maybe different manufacturers have different sized chambers ??? Again, more work to do before I shoot it. I've been shooting BP for about 40 years, so it's not new to me.
    I purchased some nitrated paper, but also bought some linen paper and potassium nitrate to make my own. (Spectracide brand stump remover = 100% potassium nitrate) I haven't done that yet, but it's in the works.
    One thing I've also learned -- finding Sharps bullet molds is like finding chicken's teeth !!! LOL

    **Shoot straight, shoot true. Don't shoot to kill, shoot to live**
     
  4. Bmac1949

    Bmac1949 Member

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    I'll bet that the Sharps is one heck of a fun rifle to work with. Keep us posted.
     
  5. EddieCav

    EddieCav Member

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    Latest data

    Chamber mics at .611"
    Loose powder load = 80gr FFg
    nitrate paper cartridge will only allow 65gr (I made my own paper, using #24 cotton "resume" paper and Spectracide **100% potassium nitrate,MSDS**

    Like shooting a mortar at 200 yds !!! LMAO I love it !!!
     
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