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Tell Me About Single Shot Cartridge Rifles and Carbines

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Retreever, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. Retreever

    Retreever Member

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    I ran across a Youtube video (what else :rofl:) of a guy shooting a Pedersoli copy of a Remington rolling block rifle ( .45 colt). I had never seen anything like them before and I really like the idea of taking your time and squeezing off a single shot at a time. This guy was getting decent groupings at 600 yards , I shoot .45 Colt already in my Ruger 'Old' Vaqueros so I'm curious to find out more.

    I understand there are primarily (2) technologies - rolling block and falling block I'm interested in learning more if there is anyone here who has and shoots one of these I would like to get your feedback - pro's / con's etc.

    Thanks, Retreever
     
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  2. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    There are lots and lots of single shot rifles. In addition to falling blocks and rolling blocks there are break actions, and bolt actions as well. The bolt actions being basically just a bolt action rifle with no magazine. H&R made break action rifles for many years in many calibers as do CVA, Henry, Rossi, and Thompson Center.

    If I were in the market for a single shot in 45 colt I would get a Thompson Center Contender with a rifle stock and get a 45 colt carbine barrel for it. The barrels are interchangable on the Thompson Center rifles so you can get factory or aftermarket barrel in pretty much any caliber you want. There are two different sizes of Thompson Center rifles, the Contender, and the Encore. The contender can shoot anything from 22lr up to about 30-30 ad 44 mag. The Encore goes all the way up to 458 win mag. They are very accurate rifles and high quality.

    e296e3ba17d0032124aa8ef976de790c.jpg
     
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  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    .45 Colt at 600 yards? He's a better man than me, Gunga Din.
    That is BPCR Midrange with best results from .45-70 or similar (I shot .40-65 after concluding that .38-55 was too little to knock down the 46 lb ram silhouette at 500 meters.)

    Pedersoli is probably the best of the foreign copies of period rifles. But prices have crept up with the Euro and I think the C Sharps 1875 is the best deal.

    Or a TC like someguy's if you want a more modern design. A lot of that other stuff is pretty junky.
     
  4. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Yep. I even have a single-shot semi-auto, a Model 55 Winchester - my first "real" gun.:)
    But to answer your question about falling blocks and rolling blocks Retreever, I have a Shiloh Sharps 45-110 (like Quigley's) that my wife bought for me for our 25th wedding anniversary. A Sharps is a falling block.
    It's okay. It's a lot of fun to shoot and handload for, but don't expect to go out and buy yourself a BPCR (Black Powder Cartridge Rifle) and shoot it like Quigley - that was a nonsense filled movie. There's quite a few folks into BPCR competitions, regularly tipping over 500 meter steel rams with their rifles. But many of those old boys have been at it for years, and even they don't tip over a target with every shot.;)
     
  5. 40-82

    40-82 Member

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    I suspect it's probably possible to nail a six-hundred yard target with a rifle in .45 Colt on a known distance range once you're dialed in, provided the light is right and the wind cooperates, but it's a range stunt. The hang time of the bullet would be such that after you pulled the trigger you could set down the rifle and be halfway through making a sandwich before you heard the bullet hit the gong.

    I love single shots, and even though most of the time when I'm hunting with a repeater the situation is either solved or not solved with one shot only, there's still just this little bit of extra reluctance of making sure with the single shot before I let go the only shot I'm going to have.
     
  6. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    I don't see the point in a single shot Rolling Block in .45 Colt unless it's one of the short carbines based on the small action. Then it would be handy and fun.

    The .45-70 version makes the most sense for a full length rifle since it is both a traditional and powerful cartridge for such.
     
  7. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Taylor's sells an 1885 High Wall in 45-70 that looks sweet.

    Someday.
     
  8. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    Wow, that would be really reaching out to touch something with the old .45 colt! I suppose with modern powders loaded to modern pressures, it should be doable, but something in the .45-70 range would be a lot more practical.

    If you just want to dabble with the idea inexpensively, the Henry single shot is a break action that retails under $400. .45-70 is an option, as is .30-30, both would be suitable for medium range use with cast bullets. Also available in pistol calibers for shorter range use. I don't think there are any special sights available for long range. It's also offered in more modern high velocity calibers and optics compatable if you wanted to go that route.

    I enjoy playing lumberjack golf with mine, a .357 magnum model, in the backyard. 4 "pins" of firewood splits in the 2-4" diameter range are placed at about 75 yards (or closer for young or inexperienced shooters). Shots are offhand, each miss is a "stroke". Each player shoots until his rack is knocked down. I'm using .357 light/.38 heavy cast loads, and it's quite a challenge even with a 2.5x scope.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  9. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Another single shot to consider is the Springfield Single Shot Rifle, commonly referred to as the trapdoor. I have had several but the more I use the 50-70s the less need I have for any 45-70. The great thing about the trapdoors is for what you would pay for an import you can get an original in shooting condition. Fun rifles that come equipped with sling swivels to aid in position shooting.

    Kevin
     
  10. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Reference please. My b.s. meter is pegging. I've shot bpcr for years and 600 is a fur piece for "good" groupings with real rifle cartridges, much less short bullet pistol ammo. I know what the old timers did at Wimbledon, I just want to see this. Used to tell customers in the shop when they told me about putting five slugs into an inch at 200 yards "offhand" that I'd pay $50 to see that. You calling me a liar?. No. I'd pay to see such fantastic shooting. Never had a taker. Hitting a gong once ain't good groupings. Not picking on you in any way. Skeptical of him.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
  11. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Built a 45-70 buffalo gun on a Remington rolling block action. Lots of fun. Duplex loads, breech seated bullets, aperture sights, 1 1/4" at 100 and 3 5/16" consistently at 200. Have a Savage 222/20 that after you develop a hulk trigger finger will do great. My two Contender carbines with 223, 30-30 and 22lr barrels are almost moa. I had a Win hiwall 32-40 that was outstanding. Have had a bunch of H and R singles that we're all mediocre except for the 20 ga ultra Hunter. Single shots are a hoot. It's why I do most of my deer hunting with a muzzle loader (and a Savage 220).
     
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  12. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    In addition to what you can glean from replies here, see if your local library can interlibrary loan a copy of Frank de Haas' OOP book Single Shot Rifles and Actions and its sequel, More Single Shot Rifles and Actions:

    https://www.amazon.com/Single-Shot-Rifles-Actions-Frank/dp/B0007F3P9G

    https://www.amazon.com/More-Single-...ore+single+shot&qid=1581146086&s=books&sr=1-1

    There are other good books on the general subject, but de Haas is readable without getting overly technical and includes fairly good illustrations of the mechanisms.

    ===

    I like many kinds of rifles, but have an especial soft spot for single shot cartridge guns. They force me to slow down and savor every shot instead of rapidly burning through full magazines.

    When it comes to currently available action types, the break open (called kipplauf in German-speaking countries), falling and rolling blocks are most common today.

    You can find economy (sub-$500) break actions from makers such as Bergara/CVA and Henry (or a used H&R/NEF), or spend thousands on a fine example of German, Austrian or Italian make. Thompson/Center offers rifle and carbine configurations for their Contender and Encore single shot pistol that run somewhere in the $6-700 range.

    Here's three of my H&R Handi Rifles with a couple of extra barrels:

    HandiRifles.jpg

    https://cva.com/product-line/hunter/
    https://www.henryusa.com/rifles/single-shot-rifle/

    My Encore in .22 K Hornet (I've since swapped a pair of lower rings):

    HornetEncore.jpg

    https://www.tcarms.com/firearms/interchangeable-platforms

    Here's an example of fine Heym Kipplauf (not mine -- I wish!) that will set you back quite a few grand:

    Foto-1__80507.1504840124.jpg

    The Ruger No.1 and the Italian Sharps and Winchester copies are the current entry level for new falling block rifles, starting somewhere north of one grand and up. Here's my pair of Rugers:

    RugerSShots.jpg

    https://ruger.com/products/no1/models.html
    https://www.uberti-usa.com/cartridge-rifles
    https://www.davide-pedersoli.com/guns-rifles.asp/l_en/partenza_0/idl_2/rifles/rifles.html

    C Sharps offers USA-made quality repros of Winchester and Sharps for a bit more, starting prices close to two grand: http://csharpsarms.com/index.php. I could be wrong, but except for Tippmann's version the Rollingblock market is limited to the Italians right now. The Tippmann's go for just under on grand: https://tippmannarmory.com/shop-all/

    Then there's the antique market, where variety and price are all over the place. I won't even go there -- read de Haas or Grant for an education on the good old stuff. Personally, I like the Peabody-Martini action type (often called a tilting block) and own a couple of reworked British Martini military and cadet actions:

    Martinis02.jpg
     
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  13. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    One of my grail guns is the Thompson Center single shot hammerless ss from the eighties. Fine walnut, dst, optics defined and tapped. TCR87 IIRC. Forgot to mention a couple #1 Rugers I had way back when.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
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  14. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    Used to be the cheapest route into mid-range BPCR was the H&R Buffalo Classic 32” globe sighted break-action. I’ve got a heavy barrel Pedersoli RB replica in 45-70 and “good groups” at 600 yards are pretty darn difficult and pretty darn large!

    Single shots are awesome. Would love one of those Heyms!!
     
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  15. 25-20 WCF

    25-20 WCF Member

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    The OP doesn’t say he wants to shoot at 600 yards, just that he “saw” it done. I’ve never shot the .45 LC that far, but my DW M45 held under 2 moa out to 220 yards with a 300-grain LFN cast at 1100 fps - a rifle should do better. In a rifle a 360-grain cast could reach 1200-1300 fps so it has the potential to group “decent” at 600 yards. The hold over at 600 yards would still be....pretty much.

    .
     
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  16. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    The original TCR, before they reused the abbreviation for their 22 auto. Always thought they looked elegant.

    What chambering was your barrel -- I take it from the '87 designation it had the single trigger rather than the original twin set triggers?
     
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  17. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    I really wish that they still produced the Ruger #3 carbine.
    I owned a .45-70 example that is one of the many guns in my life that got sold.
    These were great value for anyone wanting to emulate the single shot era or just to have a compact hunting rifle.
    Great wood, great action, very handy.
    I can still recall shooting 500 grain cast bullets cast from a now 100 year old tong tool mold at an indoor range.
    What a blast (literally).
    Sure rocked you back on your heels.
     
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  18. Retreever

    Retreever Member

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    Thanks for all the great info, unfortunately I am in Canada so don't have access to most of the retailers you mentioned but that said your comments were very helpful. There are a couple of .45-70 single shots (used) for sale via GunPost ( Canadian resell web site) can you comment on value, quality for each of these listed below?

    1. Springfield 45-70 - US Springfield model 1884 chambered in black powder 45-70 loads, says bore is great . Price is $500USD
    2. Harrington & Richardson 45-70 - says it's in very good condition no price he's asking for offers - what would this go for in your neck of the woods?

    Regards, Retreever
     
  19. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    There are a couple of .45-70 single shots (used) for sale via GunPost ( Canadian resell web site) can you comment on value, quality for each of these listed below?

    1. Springfield 45-70 - US Springfield model 1884 chambered in black powder 45-70 loads, says bore is great . Price is $500USD
    2. Harrington & Richardson 45-70 - says it's in very good condition no price he's asking for offers - what would this go for in your neck of the woods?

    Regards, Retreever

    Retreever, that is a very good price on the Springfield.

    Kevin
     
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  20. Trey Veston

    Trey Veston Member

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    Depends on the target... You should be hitting every pig, most of your turkeys, and most of your rams. I was happy to hit one or two dang chickens when I shot.

    I wish I still lived near Ben Avery outside of Phoenix. I had a lot of fun shooting and even won a couple of matches. I only did it for a couple of years before I moved away. Too far now to drive to the nearest match, which is about 300 miles.

    My dad shoots a Sharps and I shoot an Uberti 1885 Remington high wall clone in .45-70... Super fun rifles but can get spendy. I think dad has around $5k into his with the custom everything. Mine was around $1100 new, then a custom barrel was added, sights, then a scope. About $2500 in it total.

    Sharps1.jpg

    Uberti1.jpg
     
  21. Bwana John

    Bwana John Member

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    "Personally, I like the Peabody-Martini action type (often called a tilting block) and own a couple of reworked British Martini military and cadet actions:"

    View attachment 890314

    who redid your Martini Cadet?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
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  22. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    go back and look at that you tube video again. suspect it was a 45/70. although with the right twist one could do that with a 45 colt. still think it may have been a 45 in a 45/70. i have a cpa stevens 44 and 1/2 in 45 70, could easily do what you saw. the barrel comes from canada. it has a smith barrel in gain twist. i shoot paperpatched bullets.
     
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  23. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    My only experience with SS rifles was shooting BPCRs in Buff matches, 800-900-1000 and NRA Silhouette were I shot my way into master class in 3 years of competing. Also shot the Quigley for 3 years before becoming a hardcore Silhouette shooter.

    I still have rifles in .45-100 2.6" (Shiloh #1), .45-90 2.4" (Ballard R&C 1885 Special Sporting), .40-70W(M) 2.4" (Ballard R&C 1885 Special Sporting). My Ballards were built back when Steve Garbe was running the place and have is initials (SPG) on the barrels. Mine are all semi-custom deals, so $4500+ before sights, which are all MVA Soules. The .45-100 & .45-90 both have windgauge front sights also, which really come in handy on the windy days when some guys are holding off the target.

    Sub MOA accuracy is very doable with these, but it's a lot more effort in your loading and casting process. I'd literally spend about 8hrs loading for a 2day 80 rd match, between casting, lubing and loading. The requirements on the shooter are also greater IMHO, due to the required follow through and also paying attention to your bore condition. I can't think of any other shooting sport that temp, humidity etc. have such a great effect on internal and external ballistics. All it takes is fouling out during a string to become a believer. My fastest loads using Swiss were just over 1360Fps in .45-100 with a 550grn and 1320Fps in .40-70 with a 410grn, so there's lots of barrel time in a 30 or 32" barrel compared to a 2700+ FPS cartridge.

    The .38-55 and .35 guys I shot with (against) always seemed willing to lose a ram or 2 because they felt the lack of recoil was worth it at the end of the day when they weren't as worn out. I do know that I spent 4 matches behind my .45-90 and I had my .40-70W on order. Launching sixty 550 grainers, (40 for score + sighters) down range in a day wasn't all that much fun. Never lost a Ram I reasonably hit, and chickens flew off the rail, I just hit a lot more of them with a .40.

    IF you're going the BP route, the .45-70 or .40-65 are easier to load for than some of the bigger cases.
     
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  24. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    Well, Marstar used to be the mecca for Martini-Henry stuff, and may still handle a few today. Check with them by email and ask what other single shots are available on the Canadian market -- nice folks: https://marstar.ca/

    Pedersoli and Uberti are pretty popular up North -- Marstar carries quite a few, and Stoeger Canada markets the Ubertis: https://www.stoegercanada.ca/brands/a-uberti/

    Looks like the Henry single shot is also available in Canada: https://macdonaldsportinggoods.com/products/henry-h015-single-shot-rifles
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
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  25. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    The rebarrelling work was done about 20 years ago by a local shop called Gillman-Mayfield/Mayfield/Gilmay (changed names a few times for paperwork reasons, same shop) using a surplus Mauser 98 barrel in 7.62 NATO cut down from both ends. Sadly, they closed the business and moved away several years ago. It's chambered for a .357 Magnum necked down to .308 in a .30 Mauser pistol die. I did the stockwork myself: the buttstock is a reworked military duplicate, forend is from a block of walnut (and very slightly wonky.) Craftguard did the Parkerizing job. Just finished it a few months ago after languishing in the safe for about 15 years.

    BTW, the larger military action was also rebarrelled by Gilman using a surplus .44 barrel intended for a Star/Garcia Rollingblock carbine. The action was made in 1876 and arsenal converted to .303 in 1900, and the .303 extractor works perfectly with the current .44 Magnum chambering. Buttstock is refinished military, another homemade forend (better work this time), Parkerized by Gander Mountain. The carbine was about 90% complete in 2002, then about three years ago I did the new forend and had it finished. Shoots wadcutter bullets rather well. smug1.jpg
     
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