Shiloh Sharps and 45-70 BPC???

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by RichCotte, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. RichCotte

    RichCotte Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Good morning everyone. I'm the latest owner of a Shiloh Sharps made in the 1980's.

    I'm an experienced smokeless reloader and muzzle loader shooter, but I've never loaded BP cartridges.

    I ordered a couple of Paul Matthews' books, but hoping to find some good information here as well. Any other recommendations for good sources of information as well as components? I typically buy my cast bullets from Missouri Bullet Co. when loading for my .45 Colts.

    Anyone else have an older Shiloh Sharps? Have you got any recommendations for powder and bullet combinations to start with as I begin load development?
    troy fairweather and .308 Norma like this.
  2. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    I know guys who load black powder, one shooting bud set a National Record with a 45/70, at 300 yards, with BP, and his group was under 1 MOA at that distance. But it takes a lot of work.You want to load BP, be prepared for hours and hours of load development. At some point in the very distant future, epoch's almost galactic in endurance, your rifle will be a tack driver.

    For me, the smokeless answer was AA5744. I really don't know why anyone uses any other powder than AA5744 in these big, low pressure cases. According to Accurate Arms, this powder was developed for the 45/120 case, I think they found an existing powder and it worked well, regardless of advertising hype, it works well.

    You can see the velocities I measured during load testing and in several other 45/70 rifles.

    45/70 Martini Henry 26" Shilen Barrel

    405 LRN 26.5gr AA5744 R-P cases WLR

    29-Apr-04 T = 80 °F
    Ave Vel = 1294
    Std Dev = 14
    ES = 40
    Low = 1274
    High = 1314
    N = 15

    Group Size Very . good

    405 LRN 27.0gr AA5744 R-P cases WLR
    24-Mar-04 T = 70 °F

    Ave Vel = 1284
    Std Dev = 23
    ES = 80
    Low = 1263
    High = 1343
    N = 12

    405 LRN 27.5gr AA5744 R-P cases WLR
    15-Apr-05 T = 75 °F

    Ave Vel = 1363
    Std Dev = 25
    ES = 97
    Low = 1298
    High = 1395
    N = 20

    Group Size good offhand at 100 yards


    Winchester BPCR M1885 30" Badger barrel
    Ladder Sights: 5 graduations per 1/4 inch major.
    1/4 inch major is 25 MOA, 1 grad is 5 MOA, 1 Vernier is 1 MOA

    405 LRN 27.5gr AA5744 R-P cases WLR trimmed 2.085"
    29 May 2010 T = 89 °F

    Ave Vel = 1324
    Std Dev = 9
    ES = 26
    High = 1338
    Low = 1312
    N = 6



    I have not slugged the barrel of this M1873, but it leaded something awful till I applied a huge amount of external grease to the bullets. I think the barrel is large compared to my commercial cast bullets.

    M1873 Springfield Trapdoor 1884 rebuild 27" sight radius

    405 LRN 27.5gr AA5744 R-P cases WLR trimmed 2.085"
    14 Aug 2014 T = 78 °F

    Ave Vel = 1302
    Std Dev = 11
    ES = 26
    High = 1315
    Low = 1289
    N = 5

    First round 15.5" high, rest, 19.5 to 23" high at 100 yards
    RichCotte likes this.
  3. RichCotte

    RichCotte Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Thanks Slamfire! Great info.

    I'm definitely ready for the long development time. Any excuse to put rounds downrange.
    Slamfire likes this.
  4. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

    Mar 21, 2018
    Up State New York
    A lot of guys use Swiss 1.5 fg black powder make sure the lube on the bullet is SPG lube. The Lee pointed 500 grain bullet mold is good and there 405hb for the money. I never used commercial lead bullets, check out buffalo arms.

    I would love to find a old shiloh, my dad had one when I was a kid. And watched Quigley down under a lot. One day I'll get one.
    Slamfire and RichCotte like this.
  5. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

    Jun 6, 2016
    SE Idaho
    My Shiloh Sharps isn't that old (early 2000s), and it's a .45-110. Nevertheless, as Slamfire indicated, developing good blackpowder loads for it was a challenge. The flipside is - I love handloading, in some cases (no pun intended) more than shooting. So developing good blackpowder loads for my big .45-110 Sharps was (and still is in many ways) just one more excuse to spend more time pursuing my hobby.;)
    Anyway, if you can find a reasonably priced copy, I like "SPG Lubricants BP Cartridge Reloading Primer" book. It was written by Mike Venturino and Steve Garbe. I have a few books by Paul Matthews too, but end up turning to Venturino's and Garbe's book more often than not. The problem there is, I looked Venturino's and Garbe's book up on Amazon, and the darned thing is listed from a hundred bucks on up. I don't remember what I paid in 2004, but it was probably less than $25.00.
    I never have gotten into casting my own bullets for my Shiloh Sharps. I've bought them from Montana Precision Swaging and Bullet Meister Bullets. And as a bit of a hoarder, I have a pretty good sized stash now.
    Also, I've tried Pyrodex in my .45-110 - don't like it. I've also considered working with some smokeless powder loads like Slamfire prefers, and I've browsed through a few books that list smokeless powder loads for a .45-110 Sharps. But in the end, I always remind myself that working up blackpowder loads was one of the reason I got the rifle in the first place. Well that, and the fact that my wife ordered it for me for our 30th wedding anniversary in 2001. I didn't get it until a couple or three years later though - Shiloh Rifle Company of Montana was still behind because of "Quigley" when my wife ordered mine.:)
    Slamfire likes this.
  6. Doak

    Doak Member

    Aug 24, 2012
    Northern California
    Gotta 50/90 Shiloh from Farmingdale N.Y. It's not a long range gun. At 1 turn in 36", twist is too slow for long bullets. Should be 18" or 20".

    "Loading the Black Powder Rifle Cartridge" by Paul A. Matthews is the one that saved my bacon. Chapter 3 is all about "grease cookies". Cookies keep the BP fowling soft. Stops the buildup of concrete at the chamber/throat transition, allowing rounds to be chambered all day, w/out problems. Placement of the cookies in the cartridge, what they're made of.......it's all in the book.

    "SPG Lubricants BP Cartridge Reloading Primer" by Mike Venturino & Steve Garbe is another useful book. That's not a plug for SPG...just happens to be the title of the book.

    Kindest Regards,
    RichCotte, Slamfire and .308 Norma like this.
  7. RichCotte

    RichCotte Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Thanks Doak. That's one of the books I ordered. Should be here tomorrow.

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