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Marrakai
.416 member


Reged: 09/01/03
Posts: 3526
Loc: Darwin, Top End of Australia
Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle
      #371152 - 06/11/22 11:20 AM

Well I have finally dipped my toe in the Vintage American Classics pool, as a consequence of a deceased estate many years ago, and the son finally losing interest.

I ended up with 3 firearms: a Colt Lightning and a Winchester Model 73 SRC, both in .44-40, and the 1852 Sharps sporter.

Can't believe how heavy the octagonal barrel is on this thing!

Sadly, the bore has a few patches of bad pitting so it will never shoot lead bullets accurately again, but I will have to make-up a couple of paper cartridges and let her rip, just for old times sake.

Photos when I can, but meanwhile it's a lot like this one, but missing the action take-down key (has a press-fit pin instead) and sporting the schnabel fore-end option rather than the pewter cap.

One of 606 ever made, according to the Sharps Collector Association.

Anyone here a member of that association? Feedback...?

Enjoying the historical research so far!

--------------------
Marrakai
When the bull drops, the bullshit stops!
--------------------------------
www.marrakai-adventure.com.au


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DarylSModerator
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Posts: 26688
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Re: Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle [Re: Marrakai]
      #371153 - 06/11/22 12:58 PM

Sounds great, Marrakai. All 3 classics.
I've used my bro's Lightning in .45 Colt chambering in a couple cowboy action matches. It is a lightning fast shooter. What a rifle!! His Henry in .44/40 is also fun, but slower in operation. The pump-gun is VERY fast firing.

How are the bores of the Lightning and M73?

Sad about the Sharps. They were quite interesting.
The .50/70 Sharps m59 barrel I have, was sleeved and re-chambered/converted for the center-fire ctg. in the 1867 Government contract with Sharps. Originally, it was a model 59 linen ctg. Carbine barrel. Yours is a bit earlier yet.
Maroon ScotchBrite on a jag, lubed with a thin oil like WD40, and scrubbed back and forth full length, can do wonders for a 'rough' barrel.

--------------------
Daryl


"a gun without hammers is like a Spaniel without ears" King George V


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Marrakai
.416 member


Reged: 09/01/03
Posts: 3526
Loc: Darwin, Top End of Australia
Re: Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle [Re: DarylS]
      #371156 - 06/11/22 02:03 PM

Daryl:
Thanks for your words of encouragement.

I actually went looking for some blue scotch-brite in the kitchen pantry last night (don't think we have the maroon stuff here) but we're out. Off to the shops...

The Sharps I have is the slant-breech so no chance of modifying for cartridge, although a true enthusiast might consider a barrel-liner. It has the platinum ring in the breech-face, and the sliding chamber collar although unsurprisingly that has been frozen solid for perhaps a century.

For the shot or two I may put through it, a brass cup with big flash-hole behind the paper cartridge might keep some of the brimstone out of my face!

My hunting buddy Marty wants to see me belt an Aussie buffalo with it, but not sure that's such a good idea...
Anyway, too bloody heavy to carry on foot in the hunting field!

Btw; the bores on the Lightning and the '73 are a bit rough but not too bad really. Being .44-40 I can use jacketed bullets so they should be OK to shoot. Might even improve with the passage of a few projectiles.

--------------------
Marrakai
When the bull drops, the bullshit stops!
--------------------------------
www.marrakai-adventure.com.au

Edited by Marrakai (06/11/22 03:16 PM)


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DarylSModerator
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Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 26688
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Re: Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle [Re: Marrakai]
      #371157 - 06/11/22 03:16 PM

I thought that might be the slant-breech model, with rounded action sides. Pretty cool!
The chamber area that the bullet fits into, is usually tapered. The proper bullet moulds were made by Lyman up until about 50 years ago, or at least were listed.
I had one of the Italian versions of the Model 59, bought a .54 hollow based Lyman Minie mould. I cut off the hollow base plug square to the base, and tapered the bullets using a 6.5x68 fl sizer die - rod poked down from the top pushed them out. I had to adjust the die to get the bullet tapered & sized correctly. A bit of fiddling around with adjustments and worked.
These fit the chamber of the replica well, quite perfectly. That rifle had a large chamber area with a tapered bullet seat just like the originals. The Shiloh Sharps replicas made in Montana had a straight chamber, not at all correct. The Italian version held 110gr. 2F GOEX. With the 400gr. bullet I was using, it worked well on a mule deer buck I had called in. I don't think I would shoot a buffalo with it, but about any NA game would cecum to it's slugs.
I didn't use ctg., but would drop in a bullet. I had a short starter in my pocket the correct length to just push the lubed bullet into the throat, then with a horn, filled the chamber with powder, then closed the breech, capped and fired.
The trouble with ctg.s, paper or otherwise, is burning paper bits left in the breech.
My late buddy Brad had one of the Shiloh versions and tried nitrated paper ctgs. After a shot, he would shove a finger into the breech and pull out the scorched and partially burned ctg. paper tube.

--------------------
Daryl


"a gun without hammers is like a Spaniel without ears" King George V


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NitroXAdministrator
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Reged: 25/12/02
Posts: 39486
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Re: Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle [Re: DarylS]
      #371180 - 06/11/22 08:09 PM

Quote:


I ended up with 3 firearms: a Colt Lightning and a Winchester Model 73 SRC, both in .44-40, and the 1852 Sharps sporter




Sounds good.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
Govt get out of our lives NOW!
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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93x64mm
.416 member


Reged: 07/12/11
Posts: 4076
Loc: Nth QLD Australia
Re: Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle [Re: Marrakai]
      #371182 - 06/11/22 10:15 PM

Quote:

Daryl:
Thanks for your words of encouragement.

I actually went looking for some blue scotch-brite in the kitchen pantry last night (don't think we have the maroon stuff here) but we're out. Off to the shops...

The Sharps I have is the slant-breech so no chance of modifying for cartridge, although a true enthusiast might consider a barrel-liner. It has the platinum ring in the breech-face, and the sliding chamber collar although unsurprisingly that has been frozen solid for perhaps a century.

For the shot or two I may put through it, a brass cup with big flash-hole behind the paper cartridge might keep some of the brimstone out of my face!

My hunting buddy Marty wants to see me belt an Aussie buffalo with it, but not sure that's such a good idea...
Anyway, too bloody heavy to carry on foot in the hunting field!

Btw; the bores on the Lightning and the '73 are a bit rough but not too bad really. Being .44-40 I can use jacketed bullets so they should be OK to shoot. Might even improve with the passage of a few projectiles.




Sounds like you got your work cut out for you Marrakai!
If all originals then you really have some very desirable pieces in the safe.
Be fun though, keep us informed of your progress.


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85lc
.375 member


Reged: 19/01/18
Posts: 961
Loc: Georgia, USA
Re: Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle [Re: 93x64mm]
      #371197 - 07/11/22 08:25 AM

Marrakai,

Three wonderful catches. You must be living right!!

I have hand lapped several single shot rifles with somewhat rough bores and able to smooth them up to shoot lead bullets. I used an expandable lap and fine valve grinding compound and initially worked on the rough areas and then later the entire bore. One thing that is important (to me) was to use a thick rod centered using a cartridge case of rod guide to prevent the rod from dragging against the bore.

--------------------
RB


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Marrakai
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Reged: 09/01/03
Posts: 3526
Loc: Darwin, Top End of Australia
Re: Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle [Re: 85lc]
      #374793 - 04/03/23 11:31 PM

Well another mango season is now past, so I thought I'd better get on with it.
Fired the Sharps today, and it was surprisingly well-mannered at the range. I only had two cartridges to fire, seeing as how the projectiles were lathe-turned from .58 Minie bullets cast with no hollow base. Took me a while to get that right! My aim was to achieve a close approximation of the Richmond Laboratories heel-based conical pattern. Driving band at .530 dia (not too tight, just in case) and heel at .512 dia. Standard recipe for paper tube with folded tail.

Being conservative, I loaded ~60 grains of 2F into the rolled paper cartridges, with a bit of Semolina between bullet base and powder to get the correct length to chop off the folded tail with virtually no spillage.

Target at 25m, not knowing what to expect. First shot went into the black at the 7-ring, maybe 11:30. Adjusted, and put the second into the ten-ring just left of dead centre. Both point-first despite the patches of bad pitting in the bore.

...and my hair didn't catch fire, didn't burn my sleeve, no blinding flash... all good. Suitably inspired, I will now make the time to assemble a bunch of cartridges and try for a group at 50 and 100m. Might even buy a mold if those 'Eras Gone' guys will export to Oz.

Wish I could post a photo but my uploader is now beyond hope. Will download a better one soon.

Almost forgot, sent a few .44-40s down-range from the 1873 Winchester SRC today too. The bore had cleaned up pretty well with some elbow grease! Started with a one-hole 3-shot group at 25m rested, so burnt the rest of 'em at the 100m steel plate, some rested, some offhand. Didn't miss once!
Considering that rifle is ~135 years old, I can't believe my luck!

--------------------
Marrakai
When the bull drops, the bullshit stops!
--------------------------------
www.marrakai-adventure.com.au


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DarylSModerator
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Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 26688
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Re: Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle [Re: Marrakai]
      #374814 - 05/03/23 04:31 AM

Glad they're working again. Cool beans.

--------------------
Daryl


"a gun without hammers is like a Spaniel without ears" King George V


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Marrakai
.416 member


Reged: 09/01/03
Posts: 3526
Loc: Darwin, Top End of Australia
Re: Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle [Re: DarylS]
      #377480 - 22/06/23 10:17 PM

Here's a pic of the loaded paper cartridge for the Sharps, as per the recipe widely published on YouTube:




A couple of cartridges and percussion caps ready to get cracking:




...and here is the result on paper. First shot a bit high, second shot on the ten ring by aiming appropriately low to compensate:




Despite my best intentions I have not gotten back to this project.
A bunch of paper tubes have been glued to carefully constructed lead bullets, awaiting black powder and origami...

Hopefully more to report soon!

--------------------
Marrakai
When the bull drops, the bullshit stops!
--------------------------------
www.marrakai-adventure.com.au


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lancaster
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Re: Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle [Re: Marrakai]
      #377489 - 23/06/23 04:18 AM

I would be siting already and make some brass cases.

--------------------
Norwegian hunter misses moose, shoots man on toilet
.
bringing civilisation to the barbarians


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93x64mm
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Reged: 07/12/11
Posts: 4076
Loc: Nth QLD Australia
Re: Sharps 1852 Sporting Rifle [Re: lancaster]
      #377495 - 23/06/23 06:28 AM

That 'load' is perfectly alright in your rifle Marrakai!
I doubt anyone here would be complaining about that!
Great to hear that your old 1873 went well too - could you divulge the load for the old .44/40 - its certainly a cracker if making a cloverleaf at 25m


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