Postby Kenny Wasserburger » Wed Nov 10, 2004 12:01 am
Gunny pretty well hit it on the head, and so have a few others. The 45 2-7/8ths Sharps aka the 45-110 or the 45-120 is one of the neatest, coolest of the buffalo era cartridges. 2-7/8th brass was loaded with 90 to 120 grs of powder and is varified in Sharps Literature of the 1878 catalog, "DEPENDENT ON THE GRADE OF POWDER AND CARE USED IN FILLING THE CASE". Thats a direct qoute.
As Kirk has often mentioned its my favorite, IF we were allowed 22-25 lb rifles in Silhouette I would shoot a 45 2-7/8ths Sharps for everything.
The 3.25 case exists today and it came into being as near as we can find in around 1883-84. Elmer Keith mentioned buying a 45-120 2-7/8ths Sharps from the Mine Sup at the Homestake Mine in Deadwood in the early 20's but also mentions owning 3.25 120's also. Elmer's writings lead me to think that the 3.25 was a rechamber job, Because he mentions that the 2-7/8th chambered rifle was clean and original in all respects.
This past Nationals, after the Scoped Championship, Steve Garbe and I had one of our tailgate vists, and he mentioned that if the 22-25lb rifles were allowed in Sihouette he would shoot a 45-110. Steve told me that in his experience its one of the most accurate BP cartridges he has ever shot. This mirrors my own personal experiance with the cartridge, My Long Range shooting parder of many years, Is Jim Terry of Rawlins Wyoming. Jimbo has seen my 45-110 in use for many years. Jimbo had Kirk fix him up a 45-110 Sharps as close as he could come to being just like mine. At the Recent World Creedmoor Matches I had the honor of Spotting for Jimbo in the Team event, Jim shot the highest score of anyone in the match, Tieing Steve Baldwin. Jim had one more X then Steve who is An excellent shot. Jim was using His SHILOH 45-110 Sharps a 570 gr Moss Bullet and FG Swiss and White Lighting Lube made by Dan Theodore. Any one that says this cartidge is not up to winning matches is sadly mistaken. It however is not a cartrige for the NOVICE BPCR SHOOTER IN MY OPINION.
If its a historicaly correct buffalo era cartridge your looking for or at, the 45 2-7/8th Sharps has alot of pedigree. Documents show over 10,000 rounds a month being shipped to Fort Laramie Wyo. While the hunt on the great Northern Herd was in progress. Lots of Documents mention 45-120's used in my neck of the country for buffalo hunting, the Few Originals that I have seen have all been in 45 2-78ths. That includes several original Borchardt sporting rifles that were used for hunting in our area, the two that I have personly handled were both 45 2-7/8ths.
As mentioned in a previoius post I have seen 45-120 ammo original stuff abet it is 2-7/8th cases. 500 gr paper patch bullets.
I have also personaly loaded 120 grs of FG Elephant BP in Bertram brass I had to compress it a great deal and it fouled terribley! Dependent on the bulk density of the powder and the drop tube method will vary the amount one can get into todays cases.
My own Favorite loads are in the 104 to 108 gr range dependent on what Lot of Fg Goex I am using at the time and the bullet. I also have a pet load in FFg thats around 98-102 grs that works well if its not dry or hot out.
As Ray said I love the 45-110 its a real hot rod BP round that delivers. Course I like old 69-70's Mopar Muscle Cars too?
The cartridge has been the most fun and at times the most frustrating round for me. I have at times shot Excellent scores, won a few matches placed in many, from buffalo matches to Creedmoor, done well with it at Nationals and then also fail miserbly with it.
For me its all about the nostalga and the Historical aspect of the 45 2-7/8ths. It Just sort of fits me to a tee! The 1874 Sharps and the 45-110 aka the 45 2-78ths Sharps.
After some research in my own records it would seem that nearly 18,000 rounds of 45 2-7/8ths I have sent down range in the past 10 years and 2 months.
Yea its MY FAVORITE.
PS now days its not so hard to get a 45-110 up and running as it was 10 years ago. There is some dam fool that has put close to 18,000 rounds down range with one and he is always happy to share information with would be and current 45-2-7/8ths Sharps shooters.
We'll raise up our Glasses against Evil Forces, Singing, Whiskey for my men, Beer for my horses.
Wyoming Territory Sharps Shooter
Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing Company
American firearms manufacturer
Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing Company is a firearms manufacturer located in Big Timber, Montana, United States.
The company produces a line of reproductions of various historical black-powder rifles, including the legendary 1874 Sharps Rifle, featured in the 1990 Western film Quigley Down Under, starring Tom Selleck.
Shiloh Sharps Rifle began production in 1983. Previously, the Sharps rifle reproductions were manufactured by Shiloh Products Inc. founded by Len Mulé (pronounce Mull-A) of Garfield, New Jersey, in partnership with Wolfgang Droge, who owned Drovel Tool Company of Farmingdale, New York, from 1976 to 1983. Len Mulé was responsible for all early drawings and mechanical drawings and prototype work on the Model 1863 and deserves credit as the second founder of Sharps and its re-introduction into the modern era.
Shiloh produces two basic models of rifle, the Sharps 1863 which is a percussion rifle, and the Sharps 1874, which is a black-powder cartridge rifle (BPCR). Both rifles are produced in several variants, such as single or double trigger, upgraded wood, finish, etc. Various barrel lengths and shapes (round, octagonal, half-round, etc.). Rifles chambered in "standard" factory rounds are warranted for shooting factory smokeless powder ammunition as well, such as the 30-40K, .38-55, and .45-70.
The model 1863 comes in 50 caliber and 54 caliber.
The model 1874 comes in:
- .30-40 Krag
- .38-55 Winchester
- .40-5011⁄16 BN
- .40-65 Win
- .40-70 21⁄4 BN
- .40-70 21⁄2 ST
- .40-90 25⁄8 BN
- .40-90 31⁄4 ST
- .44-77 BN
- .44-90 BN
- .45-70 21⁄10 ST
- .45-90 2 4/10 ST
- .45-100 2 6/10 ST
- .45-110 27⁄8 ST
- .45-120 31⁄4 ST
- .50-70 13⁄4 ST
- .50-90 21⁄2 ST
Commercial hunting of the Western "buffalo" (actually American bison) was widespread from the early 1870's to the early 1880's. The slaughter of the bison reached its peak in 1875 and 1876, declining after 1880. The last great buffalo herd was annihilated in 1884, marking the end of an era.
Many different black powder rifle cartridges were used to kill buffalo on the American frontier. Most popular cartridges of the time, even though quite inadequate to the task, were pressed into service on the plains. A similar thing happened in Africa, particularly during the early years of the 20th Century.
There is neither time nor space in an article such as this to even attempt to describe every moderately successful cartridge ever used to kill an American bison. During the days of the great buffalo hunts on the American plains powerful, accurate, single shot rifles shooting big bore cartridges were the preferred medicine of the serious hunter. This article will briefly examine a few of the best known of those cartridges. Please understand that it is not intended to be an inclusive treatise on the subject.
As was the custom of the time, the big bore black powder cartridges were named by their nominal bullet diameter and typical maximum powder charge; often the bullet weight (in grains) was included. Thus the ".45-70" was a black powder cartridge that used a .45 caliber bullet (.458" diameter) in front of 70 grains of powder. The designation .45-70-405 would indicate the .45-70 cartridge loaded with a 405 grain bullet.
The big bore buffalo cartridges were loaded with black powder, as smokeless powder had not yet been invented. Because black powder is an inefficient propellant by volume, big cases with large powder charges were necessary and muzzle velocities were typically limited to around 1250-1500 fps.
The development of reliable, controlled expansion jacketed bullets was still in the future. On the frontier, bullets of all calibers were generally made of cast lead. The only way to increase shocking power was to increase bullet diameter; the only way to increase penetration was to increase bullet weight (and thus sectional density). In those days terminal ballistics was generally pretty simple; the bigger and heavier the bullet the greater the killing power.
And plenty of killing power was needed, for the American bison is a very big bovine, considerably larger than the average African Cape buffalo. Fortunately, while they can indeed be dangerous to humans, the bison does not have the malevolent disposition of his distant African cousin. The buffalo runners of the West simply stayed out of reach of the big beasts, usually shooting from a rest at ranges around 200 yards and sometimes more. They often used telescopic sights. These men, after all, were not sport hunters, but market hunters after hides. This also explains why the big bore double rifle, used so successfully on large African game, was not popular in the American West; it simply was not accurate enough.
According to the published research of Edward A. Matunas, an average size female bison is supposed to weigh around 930 pounds, and an average male around 1600 pounds. (The figures for average African buffalo are 700 pounds and 1000 pounds.) Very large male bison can weigh 2000 pounds, and extreme monsters weighting 3000 pounds have been recorded. Anyone hunting game that averages ten times his own weight and solves problems by running over them had better carry a powerful rifle!
It is important to remember than the intensive slaughter of the great bison herds, the days of commercial buffalo hunting, lasted only a little over ten years. Subsistence and sport hunters as well as the plains Indians had hunted bison previously, of course, but the planned extermination of the herds was not contemplated until about 1870 and was completed in 1884. It was the early buffalo cartridges that did most of the heavy killing. The final refinement of the American buffalo cartridge actually occurred after the extinction of the last great bison herd.
The excellent Winchester Model 1885 single shot rifle and Model 1886 lever action repeating rifle, and the entire line of big bore cartridges developed for these rifles, was introduced after the herds were gone and commercial buffalo hunting had ceased. The .45-82, .45-85, .45-90, .45-125, .50-100, .50-105, and .50-110 Winchester cartridges, the first of which was introduced in 1886, had no impact on the extermination of the bison. The same thing basically applies to the .40-90 Sharps (Straight), .50-115 Bullard, .50-140 Sharps and several other impressive "buffalo" cartridges.
.40-90, .40-100 Sharps (Necked)
In its day the .40-90 Sharps (Necked) was a popular cartridge both for hunting and target shooting. It is perhaps not widely realized that Sharps made target rifles as well as hunting rifles, and the company was very successful in match competition. Their match successes eventually resulted in the word "sharpshooter" (contracted from "Sharps shooter") generically meaning a good shot.
Introduced in 1873, the .40-90 used a rimmed, bottleneck case 2 5/8" long. The base diameter of this case was .506", the shoulder diameter was .500", and the neck diameter was .435" Bullet diameter was .403". The cartridge overall length (COL) was 3.44".
The .40-90 and .40-100 (Necked) were the same cartridge with different powder charges and bullets. Period .40-90 factory loads drove a 370 grain lead bullet at a MV of 1475 fps and ME of 1800 ft. lbs. This was the big game load.
The .40-100 was an "Express" load, which in those days meant "high velocity." It used a lighter 190 grain hollow point bullet in front of extra powder to achieve a higher MV at the expense of penetration on large game.
.44-77 Sharps and .44-77 Remington
This pair is actually the same cartridge. The .44-77 was introduced in 1869 by Sharps for their Model 1869 rifle, and was based on the Sharps 2 1/4" rimmed, bottleneck case. This case had a base diameter of .516", shoulder diameter of .502" and neck diameter of .467". Bullet diameter was .446" and cartridge overall length was 3.05".
It was also available under the Remington name in their No. 3 Rolling Block rifle. The .44-77 was used for both hunting and target shooting.
Factory loads were provided with various bullet weights up to 470 grains. Using a 365 grain bullet, one typical factory load had an advertised MV of 1460 fps and ME of 1730 ft. lbs.
.44-90, .44-100, .44-105 Sharps (Necked) and .44-90 Remington
The .44-90 Sharps was introduced in 1873 and discontinued in 1878. All three of these numbers are based on the original .44-90 case; the .44-100 and .44-105 simply represented heavier powder loads in the same cartridge.
The .44-90 used a rimmed, bottleneck case 2 5/8" long. Its base diameter was .517", shoulder diameter .504", and neck diameter .468". Bullet diameter was .446" and COL was 3.30"
This cartridge was more popular as a long range match cartridge than as a hunting cartridge, although it was used for both. Factory loads gave a 520 grain lead bullet a MV of 1270 fps and ME of 1860 ft. lbs.
Very similar, but not quite identical, to the .44-90 Sharps (Necked) is the .44-90 Remington Special. It was designed as a match cartridge for the Remington Rolling Block Creedmoor rifle and was also introduced in 1873.
Its case had a base diameter of .520", a shoulder diameter of .504", and a neck diameter of .466". Case length was 2.44" and COL was 3.08". The correct bullet diameter was .442" rather than the .446" of the Sharps .44-90 cartridge.
Factory loads gave a 550 grain lead bullet a MV of 1250 fps and ME of 1812 ft. lbs. Although primarily a match cartridge, the .44-90 Remington had the accuracy, power and penetration to make it a good bison cartridge.
.44-100 Ballard and .45-100 Ballard
Ballard rifles were initially produced in 1861. After three previous ownership changes, John M. Marlin took over the company in 1875 and produced Ballard rifles until he founded the Marlin Firearms Company in 1881. At that point Ballard was absorbed into the new Marlin Company, which continued to produce Ballard rifles.
The .44-100 cartridge was introduced in the Ballard Model Pacific No. 5 rifle in 1876 and offered in various Ballard rifles until it was discontinued about 1880, apparently having been superceded in the line by the .45-100 cartridge.
The .44-100 was designed to compete with the powerful Sharps and Winchester big bore cartridges. Its rimmed, straight taper case measured .498" at the base and .485" at its neck. The case was 2.81" long, and the loaded cartridge had an impressive COL of 3.25". Factory load ballistics for the .44-100 called for a 535 grain lead bullet at a MV of 1400 fps and ME of 2328 ft. lbs.
The Ballard Sporting No. 4 1/2 rifle was introduced in 1878 along with the .45-100 cartridge. Ballard rifles were offered in .45-100 until they were discontinued by Marlin around 1889. The .45-100 was based on the earlier .44-100 case simply neck expanded to accept .45 caliber bullets. Its factory load ballistics called for a 550 grain lead bullet at a MV of 1370 fps and ME of 2300 ft. lbs.
By far the best known of the buffalo cartridges used on the western frontier was the illustrious .45-70 Government. Still popular today, the .45-70 was introduced in 1873 and was the U.S. Army's standard service cartridge from that time until it was officially replaced by the .30-40 Krag in 1892. The .45-70 actually continued in military service with reserve and militia units well into the early 1900's.
Like all U.S. service cartridges, the .45-70 became a popular sporting cartridge with American civilian hunters of the time. It was probably the most popular all-around big game rifle cartridge of its era, and was widely regarded as suitable for all North American game, including bison. Remington Arms, I believe, specifically recommended the .45-70 as the top buffalo cartridge for use in their famous Rolling Block rifles.
The .45-70 is based on a fat, rimmed, straight taper case measuring .500" at its base and .475" at its neck. The case is 2.105" long, and the military cartridge loaded by the Frankford Arsenal had an overall length of 2.73". The .45-70 uses .458" diameter bullets.
.45-70 was a chambering offered in many famous rifles. These included not only the famous "Trapdoor" Springfield military rifles and carbines, but also rifles from Hotchkiss, Marlin, Remington, Sharps, Winchester, and other civilian companies. Commercial ammunition was available from most manufacturers.
The most common .45-70 loads used 330, 350, 400, 405, and 500 grain bullets. The heaviest bullets were the best choice for hunting buffalo.
The 405 grain bullet was the weight chosen for use by the Army. The Frankford Arsenal began mass production of .45-70 cartridges in January of 1874. Frankford Arsenal cartridges were loaded with reduced charges of 55 grains of black powder (.45-55-405) for use in cavalry carbines, and full charges of 70 grains of black powder (.45-70-405) for full length (and therefore heavier) infantry rifles. 55 grains of musket powder gave a muzzle velocity (MV) of 1100 fps and 70 grain loads propelled a 405 grain bullet at a MV of 1350 fps and ME around 1600 ft. lbs. Period tests revealed that the 405 grain bullet penetrated 7.3" of white pine boards at a range of 700 yards, but the cartridge's rainbow trajectory limited its point blank range to about 150 yards for man sized targets.
Commercial .45-70 ammunition was loaded with bullets up to 500 grains in front of 70 grains of black powder (.45-70-500). These commercial loads proved to have superior penetration and killing power on large game. In 1882 Frankford Arsenal also began manufacturing a 500 grain bullet. The secret to the .45-70's success on very large game is the superior SD of its .458" bullets.
.45-75 Sharps (.45-70 Sharps)
In 1875 a civilian version of the .45-70 Government was produced by the Sharps Company as the .45-75 Sharps (Straight), and sometimes called the .45-70 Sharps. The Sharps Company liked the name on their rifles to match the name on the cartridge it used, a common marketing strategy at the time. These cartridges were actually dimensionally identical to the .45-70 Govt., and factory loads used a 400 grain bullet at a MV of 1330 fps and ME of 1580 ft. lbs.
The .45-75 Winchester was introduced with the Model 1876 lever action repeating rifle. This was an enlarged version of the famous Model 1873 action designed for use with cartridges up to 2.25" in length.
The .45-75 Win. used a rimmed bottleneck case that was shorter and fatter than the .45-70 Government. It measured .559" in diameter at its base, .547" at the shoulder, and .478" at its neck. Case length was 1.89" and overall cartridge length was 2.25".
The action of the Winchester 1876 rifle was not particularly strong, so the .45-75 was factory loaded with a 350 grain bullet at a MV of 1383 fps and ME of 1485 ft. lbs. This was ballistically inferior to the .45-70-405 and .45-70-500 as a buffalo cartridge, but its lever action rifle allowed much faster repeat shots. Teddy Roosevelt is said to have favored the .45-75 Winchester as a grizzly bear cartridge.
.45-90, .45-100, and .45-110 Sharps (Straight)
This series of Sharps rifle cartridges are all based on the same basic case trimmed to lengths of 2.875", 2.60", and 2.40". The original was the 2.875" (2 7/8") .45-110, introduced in 1876. The .45-100 (2.6" case) was added at the end of 1876 and the .45-90 (2.4" case) appeared during 1877. The base diameter of these big rimmed, straight taper cases was .500" and the neck diameter was .489". All of these cartridges used standard .458" diameter bullets.
The .45-90 was virtually identical to the .45-70 with a longer case, and .45-70 ammunition can safely be fired in .45-90 rifles. This was quite useful on the frontier, where .45-70 Government ammunition was widely distributed, and made the Sharps .45-90 a popular buffalo rifle.
All of the cartridges in this series could be used with bullets weighing 320 grains to 550 grains. The heavier bullets were the best for hunting buffalo, and the larger cases favored the heavier bullets. Factory loads for the .45-110-550 launched a 550 grain bullet at a MV of 1360 fps with ME of 2240 ft. lbs.
Frank Mayer, a well known buffalo hunter, tried various rifles but preferred his Sharps .45-90-420, which was equipped with a 20x telescopic sight made in Germany. He found that the 420 grain bullet shot flatter over ranges out to 300 yards, and killed faster than the lighter bullets he had tried. Mayer's .45-90 Sharps rifle had a 32" barrel and weighed 12 pounds.
.45-120 and .45-125 Sharps (Straight)
Introduced late in 1878 or early in 1879, the .45-120 Sharps was a very powerful bison cartridge that arrived too late to make much difference in the fate of the great herds. This huge rimmed, straight taper case was 3.25" long with a head diameter of .506" and a neck diameter of .490". COL was 4.16"!
Cases were made with two different wall thicknesses, which therefore had different maximum powder capacities. Hence the .45-120 and .45-125 designations. Externally the two were identical, and the same rifle could fire either cartridge.
Factory loads drove a 500 grain lead bullet at a MV of 1520 fps with ME of 2561 ft. lbs. A 550 grain bullet could be given a MV of 1500 fps and ME of 2749 ft. lbs. by 120 grains of black powder. One account I read stated that the recoil of the big cartridge was surprisingly mild. The reported 19 pound weight of Sharps rifles so chambered may have had something to do with this.
.50-70 Musket (.50 Government)
The .50-70 was the U.S. Army's service cartridge from 1866 to 1873, when it was replaced by the .45-70. It was the first centerfire cartridge adopted by the Army, and was a big advance over the previous .58 Rimfire cartridge.
It was first adapted to the U.S. 1866 Rifle Musket, then the improved 1868 Rifle Musket, the further improved 1870 Rifle Musket, and the bolt action single shot Ward-Burton 1871 Rifle Musket. There were also carbine versions of some of these. All except the Ward-Burton design were converted percussion arms. In addition a number of civilian rifle manufacturers built rifles in .50-70. Most notably, Remington chambered their 1870 and 1871 Rolling Block rifles for the .50-70 cartridge, and Sharps offered it in the 1867-69 Conversion Carbine and later chambered the single shot rifle that became the Model 1874 in .50-70.
The .50-70 used a rimmed, internally primed, straight taper case that measured .565" at its base, .535" at the neck, and was 1.75" long. The COL was 2.25" and it used .515" diameter bullets. The U.S. Frankford Arsenal load for rifle muskets used a 450 grain bullet in front of 70 grains of black powder (.50-70-450). The reduced recoil carbine load used a 430 grain bullet in front of 55 grains of powder (.50-55-430).
Factory loads gave a 450 grain bullet a MV of 1260 fps and ME of 1488 ft. lbs. A 425 grain bullet was driven at a MV of 1275 fps with ME of 1535 ft. lbs. The .50-70 was quite popular and had a good reputation as a buffalo cartridge. It offered superior energy and penetration compared to earlier military cartridges.
.50-90, .50-100, .50-110 Sharps
In 1872 Sharps introduced their 2 1/2 inch case for .50 caliber bullets. This was in the form of the .50-90 Sharps, soon known as the "Big .50". The same cartridge was also called the .50-100 and .50-110 when loaded with lighter bullets and more powder.
The .50-90 Sharps came about when buffalo hunters clamored for more powerful loads with increased killing power. The .50-90 became one of the mainstay cartridges of the buffalo runners. Its case is a rimmed, straight taper type with a base diameter of .565" and a neck diameter of .528". Case length was 2.5" and COL was 3.2" It used .509" diameter bullets.
Factory loads gave a 335 grain lead bullet a MV of 1475 fps and ME of 1630 ft. lbs., or a 473 grain bullet a MV of 1350 fps and ME of 1920 ft. lbs. A 550 grain bullet could be driven to a MV of about 1275 fps and ME of 1985 ft. lbs.
Cases for reloading and bullet molds are still available as of this writing for the .50-90 Sharps. Some of the Sharps Big .50 rifles remain in use today, and Shilo Sharps Rifles of Big Timber, Montana is once again offering new Sharps rifles in .50-90 caliber.
Sharps put both their .40 and .50 caliber cartridges on a "special order only" basis when they went to the .45-90 cartridge series for their regular production rifles. However, the Sharps Big .50 remains one of the most famous of all the American buffalo cartridges.
The day of the vast North American bison herds may be gone forever, but modern hunters can still enjoy shooting and hunting big game with some of these historically noteworthy cartridges. It is even possible to arrange a bison hunt in North America, as the great bovines have expanded their numbers to the point that some must be culled and there are now several huntable populations.
Shilo Sharps Rifles produces a high quality line of U.S. made semi-custom rifles based on the 1874 Sharps action. These are available in most of the popular old Sharps calibers, including .40-90, .44-77, .45-70, .45-90, .45-100, .45-110, .45-120, .50-70, .50-90, and several others. Brass for most of these Sharps cartridges is available from Bertram Brass and American; Shilo Sharps will supply reloading dies as available. Huntington Die Specialty is also a source for dies and cases.
The .45-70 Government is by far the most popular of the old cartridges. Browning, Dakota, Remington, and Ruger have produced modern single shot rifles in .45-70, and there are several imported reproductions of the 1873 Trapdoor Springfield, Remington Rolling Block, and 1874 Sharps single shot rifles on the market. Marlin offers their new Model 1895 lever action repeating rifle in .45-70, and Browning and Winchester have done limited runs of modern Model 1886 rifles in .45-70. .45-70 factory loaded ammunition is available from the Big 3 ammo makers as well as several smaller concerns. Brass, reloading dies, and bullets are available everywhere shooting supplies are sold.
The .45-90 Sharpscartridge is a black powder round introduced in 1877 by the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company. Also known as the .45 2 4/10, the cartridge was developed for hunting and long range target shooting. In the modern day, it is used for Black Powder Cartridge Rifle competitions.
While various bullet weights were used, a typical load for the .45-90 was a powder charge 90 grains (5.8 g) gunpowder (black powder) with a bullet weighing 400 grains (26 g). Such a load would have about 1,300 ft/s (400 m/s) muzzle velocity.
The .45-90 Express is a modern adaptation of .45-90 Sharps which uses the same 2.4 inch case, but uses smokeless powder loaded to pressures up to 45,000 psi. With a 26-inch barrel the .45-90 Express is capable of over 4,200 ft-lbs (5694 J) muzzle energy.
Many modern nitro-proofed single shot or break barrel .45-70 rifles can be easily reamed by a competent do-it-yourselfer to shoot .45-90 Express. These rifles include the Ruger No. 1, New England Firearms Buffalo Classic, and the Pedersoli Kodiak Mark IV. When used in modern repeating firearm such as a converted Marlin 1895, Enfield, or Winchester 1886 the cartridge overall length of the .45-90 Express needs be kept to under 2.85 inches to reliably cycle through the action.
The .45-90 Express is well suited for hunting the largest predators including lion, grizzly, and polar bears, as well as moose, cape buffalo, bison, and elk. Although it could be considered overkill for the application, the .45-90 Express is very effective for deer hunting.
1. The Complete Blackpowder Handbook, 3rd Edition by Sam Fadala, Krause Publishing, 1996, P. 247
Sharps 45 wiki 120
The .45-120 is plenty for leopard and likely plenty for lion as well.
Heck, the .45-70 will probably get the same respect from people who have shot and seen shot quite a few large cats (I have not done so).
Many PHs will not guide for baited leopard unless the client is using a scope on their rifle.
Perhaps there might be one somewhere that would agree to your idea (it'd be a shame to have to scope a good looking hammer gun like yours).
Perhaps one of the PHs who offer hunting leopard with hounds would agree to your idea.
I do not hunt leopard because I am severely ADHD and cannot sit still in a blind very long ("ants in my pants") and am too old to keep up with a pack of hounds these days (youth is wasted on the young).
I can still walk all day with a large bore rifle and I shoot them very well but, I will never hunt lion due to the price.
However, if you do not find an Outfitter or PH here in this forum (there are several excellent ones here) that will accommodate you, I know one that occasionally gets a lion permit for a 100,000 acre concession bordering The Kruger Park, no fence between them, only a shallow river (I shot a 42" buffalo there, shown as my Avatar).
When he has a permit, he offers a tracking hunt on foot for true free-range lion.
You would be limiting your shot opportunity (wild lions are quite skittish/elusive/difficult to sneak up on) with no scope but, perhaps he might agree to your idea, I'm not sure.
Fly in the oatmeal - Those free-range lion hunts cost more than most folks can afford.
This article is about the firearm. For the novel by Bernard Cornwell, see Sharpe's Rifles (novel). For the TV adaptation of the novel, see Sharpe's Rifles (TV programme).
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||United States|
American Civil War
|Unit cost||$30 (1861)|
|Variants||Single set trigger (regular army)|
Double set trigger
|Mass||9.5 lb (4.3 kg)|
|Length||47 inches (1,200 mm)|
|Cartridge||.52-caliber 475-grain projectile with 50-grain (3.2 g) cartridge, later converted to .50-70 Government in 1867. The Model 1874 rifles and carbines were available in a variety of calibers, including .45-70 Government, .45-110, and .45-120.|
|Rate of fire||8–10 shots per minute|
|Muzzle velocity||1,200 ft/s (370 m/s)|
|Effective firing range||1,000 yd (910 m)|
|Maximum firing range||3,000 yd (2,700 m)|
|Sights||Open ladder type|
Sharps rifles are a series of large-bore, single-shot, falling-block, breech-loading rifles, beginning with a design by Christian Sharps in 1848, and ceasing production in 1881. They were renowned for long-range accuracy. By 1874 the rifle was available in a variety of calibers, and it was one of the few designs successfully to be adapted to metallic cartridge use. The Sharps rifles became icons of the American Old West due to their appearances in many Western-genre films and books. Perhaps as a result, several rifle companies offer reproductions of the Sharps rifle.
Sharps' initial rifle was patented September 12, 1848 and manufactured by A. S. Nippes at Mill Creek, (Philadelphia) Pennsylvania, in 1850.
The second model used the Maynard tape primer, and surviving examples are marked Edward Maynard - Patentee 1845. In 1851 the second model was brought to the Robbins & Lawrence Company of Windsor, Vermont where the Model 1851 was developed for mass production. Rollin White of the R&L Co. invented the knife-edge breech block and self-cocking device for the "box-lock" Model 1851. This is referred to as the "First Contract", which was for 10,000 Model 1851 carbines - of which approximately 1,650 were produced by R&L in Windsor.
In 1851 the "Second Contract" was made for 15,000 rifles and the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company was organized as a holding company with $1,000 in capital and with John C. Palmer as president, Christian Sharps as engineer, and Richard S. Lawrence as master armorer and superintendent of manufacturing. Sharps was to be paid a royalty of $1 per firearm and the factory was built on R&L's property in Hartford, Connecticut.
The Model 1851 was replaced in production by the Model 1853. Christian Sharps left the company in 1855 to form his own manufacturing company called "C. Sharps & Company" in Philadelphia; Richard S. Lawrence continued as the chief armorer until 1872 and developed the various Sharp models and their improvements that made the rifle famous. In 1874, the company was reorganized and renamed "The Sharps Rifle Company" and it remained in Hartford until 1876, whereupon it relocated to Bridgeport, Connecticut.
The Sharps rifle would play a prominent role in the Bleeding Kansas conflict during the 1850s, particularly in the hands of anti-slavery forces. The Sharps rifles supplied to anti-slavery factions earned the name Beecher's Bibles, after the famed abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher.
The 1874-pattern Sharps was a particularly popular rifle that led to the introduction of several derivatives in quick succession. It handled a large number of .40- to .50-caliber cartridges in a variety of loadings and barrel lengths.
Hugo Borchardt designed the Sharps-Borchardt Model 1878, the last rifle made by the Sharps Rifle Co. before its closing in 1881.
Reproductions of the paper cartridge Sharps M1859 and M1863 Rifle and Carbine, the metallic cartridge 1874 Sharps Rifle, and Sharps-Borchardt Model 1878 are being manufactured today. They are used in Civil War re-enacting, hunting and target shooting.
Sharps military rifles and carbines
The military Sharps rifle was a falling-block rifle used during and after the American Civil War in multiple variations. Along with being able to use a standard percussion cap, the Sharps had a fairly unusual pellet primer feed. This was a device which held a stack of pelleted primers and flipped one over the nipple each time the trigger was pulled and the hammer fell—making it much easier to fire a Sharps from horseback than a gun employing individually loaded percussion caps.
The Sharps Rifle was produced by the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut. It was used in the Civil War by multiple Union units, most famously by the U.S. Army marksmen known popularly as "Berdan's Sharpshooters" in honor of their leader Hiram Berdan. The Sharps made a superior sniper weapon of greater accuracy than the more commonly issued muzzle-loadingrifled muskets. This was due mainly to the higher rate of fire of the breech loading mechanism and superior quality of manufacture, as well as the ease of which it could be reloaded from a kneeling or prone position.
At this time however, many officers were distrustful of breech-loading weapons on the grounds that they would encourage men to waste ammunition. In addition, the Sharps rifle was expensive to manufacture (three times the cost of a muzzle-loading Springfield rifle) and so only 11,000 of the Model 1859s were produced. Most were unissued or given to sharpshooters, but the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves (which still carried the old-fashioned designation of a "rifle regiment") carried them until being mustered out in 1864.
Sharps military carbine
The carbine version was very popular with the cavalry of both the Union and Confederate armies and was issued in much larger numbers than other carbines of the war and was top in production in front of the Spencer or Burnside carbine. The falling-block action lent itself to conversion to the new metallic cartridges developed in the late 1860s, and many of these converted carbines in .50-70 Government were used during the Indian Wars in the decades immediately following the Civil War.
Some Civil War–issue carbines had an unusual feature: a hand-cranked grinder in the stock. Although long thought to be a coffee mill, experimentation with some of the few survivors suggests the grinder is ill-suited for coffee. The modern consensus is that its true purpose was for grinding corn or wheat, or more appropriately for grinding charcoal needed in the production of black powder.
Unlike the Sharps rifle, the carbine was very popular and almost 90,000 were produced. By 1863, it was the most common weapon carried by Union cavalry regiments, although in 1864 many were replaced by 7-shot Spencer carbines. Some Sharps clones were produced by the Confederates in Richmond. Quality was generally poorer and they normally used brass fittings instead of iron.
The British purchased 1,000 Model 1852 carbines in 1855 which was later used in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Sharps sporting rifles
Sharps made sporting versions from the late 1840s until the late 1880s. After the American Civil War, converted Army surplus rifles were made into custom firearms, and the Sharps factory produced Models 1869 and 1874 in large numbers for commercial buffalo hunters and frontiersmen. These large-bore rifles were manufactured with some of the most powerful black powder cartridges ever made. Sharps also fabricated special long-range target versions for the then-popular Creedmoor style of 1,000-yard (910 m) target shooting. Many modern black powder cartridge silhouette shooters use original and replica Sharps rifles to target metallic silhouettes cut in the shapes of animals at ranges up to 500 meters. Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing Company, and C Sharps Arms of Big Timber, Montana, have been manufacturing reproductions of the Sharps Rifle since 1983 and 1979, respectively.
In the 1990 western film Quigley Down Under, Tom Selleck's title character uses a Sharps rifle chambered in the .45-110 caliber. Theater Crafts Industry went so far as to say, "In Quigley Down Under, which we did in 1990, the Sharps rifle practically co-stars with Tom Selleck." This statement was echoed by gunwriters including John Taffin in Guns and Lionel Atwill in Field & Stream, crediting the film with an impact to rival that of Dirty Harry on the Smith & Wesson Model 29.Burt Lancaster's character Valdez in the movie Valdez Is Coming (1971) uses a Sharps rifle with deadly results at almost 1,000 yards. Also, in the western Billy Two Hats (1974), David Huddleston's character Copeland wounds Gregory Peck's character, Archie Deans, at a far distance.
Firearms manufacturers such as Davide Pedersoli and Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing Company have credited these movies with an increase in demand for those rifles. As a result of the popularity of the film, a Sharps match is held annually in Forsyth, Montana known as the "Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match". Originally a 44-inch target was placed at 1,000 yards for each shooter, reminiscent of a scene from the movie. The match is billed as the "biggest rifle event shooting in Eastern Montana since the Custer Massacre" and has since developed into a two-day competition with eight shots for score on six steel silhouette targets at ranges from 350 to 805 yards.
On television, a Sharps plays a central role in the murder investigation in the pilot of Longmire. A Sharps is the weapon used in the murder, and its firing action is central to the climactic sequence.
In movies, the rifle is shown in both the 1969 and 2010 adaptations of the novel, True Grit.
In addition, the 2009 film Up, the mad explorer Charles Muntz is seen wielding a Shiloh Sharps reminiscent of Matthew Quigley's Sharps from Quigley Down Under.
In the 2012 film Django Unchained, a Sharps 1874 Buffalo rifle is used by the protagonist Django Freeman and his mentor Dr. King Schultz. The rifle is, however, anachronistic since it was not introduced until twenty years after the film's time period.
The Sharps has also appears in several video games. In the 2005 video game GUN, the Sharps rifle serves as the first of two sniper rifles available to the player character. In Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters, one of the weapons a player can use is a 50 caliber Sharps rifle which holds 5 rounds. It also appears in the 2019 video game Hunt: Showdown as the "Sparks LRR", alongside variants modified with either a sound suppressor or a high-powered scope
- ^Purchase of arms, House Documents, 1861, P. 177.
- ^IMPROVEMENT IN BREECH-LOADING FIRE-ARMS retrieved 20 September 2008 from Google.
- ^ abcdefgFlayderman, Norm (2007). Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms and Their Values. Iola, Wisconsin: F&W Media International. pp. 193–196. ISBN .
- ^Walter, John (2005). The Guns That Won the West: Firearms on the American Frontier, 1848-1898. Greenhill Books. pp. 129–133. ISBN .
- ^Boorman, Dean K. (1 November 2004). Guns of the Old West: An Illustrated History. Globe Pequot Press. pp. 44–47. ISBN .
- ^ abBridges, Toby (2008). "The Rebirth of Old Reliable - The Sharps Rifle". In Ken Ramage (ed.). Gun Digest 2009: The World's Greatest Gun Book. Iola, Wisconsin: F&W Media International. pp. 87–93. ISBN .
- ^ abHogg, Ian V. (1987). Weapons of the Civil War. New York: Random House Value Publishing. pp. 13–18. ISBN .
- ^Flatnes, Oyvind (2014). From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms. Crowood Press, Limited. pp. 123–125. ISBN .
- ^ abcWieland, Terry (2011). Gun Digest Book of Classic American Combat Rifles. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. p. 188. ISBN .
- ^Foster-Harris, William (2007). The Look of the Old West: A Fully Illustrated Guide. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. p. 68. ISBN .
- ^"Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record: CARBINE - SHARPS CARBINE NEW MODEL 1859 "COFFEE MILL" .52 SN# 46041". Springfield Armory Museum. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
- ^Wagner, Margaret E.; Gallagher, Gary W.; Finkelman, Paul (2009). The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 497. ISBN .
- ^Connor, Melissa A.; Scott, Douglas D.; Harmon, Dick; Richard A. Fox (1 May 2013). Archaeological Perspectives on the Battle of the Little Bighorn. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 116. ISBN .
- ^TCI: the business of entertainment technology & design, Volume 29(1995)
- ^ abTaffin, John (1994). "The Sharps 1874". Guns Magazine. Harris. 41 (5): 60–63.
- ^Atwill, Lionel (1997). "The Return of the Buffalo Gun". Field & Stream. 102 (9): 50–53.
- ^Van Zwoll, Wayne (2008). Hunter's Guide to Long-Range Shooting. Stackpole Books. pp. 27–28. ISBN .
- ^"Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match". Forsyth Montana: Forsyth Rifle & Pistol Club. 2014.
- Coates, Earl J., and Thomas S. Dean. An Introduction to Civil War Small Arms. Gettysburg, Penn.: Thomas Publications, 1990. ISBN 0-939631-25-3.
- Marcot, Roy - Marron, Edward - Paxton, Ron. "Sharps Firearms: The Percussion Era 1848 - 1865", April 2019
- Sellers, Frank M. Sharps Firearms. North Hollywood, Calif: Beinfeld Pub, 1978. ISBN 0-917714-12-1.
- Smith, Winston O. The Sharps Rifle, Its History, Development and Operation. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1943.
- Oyvind Flatnes (2013). From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms. Crowood Press. pp. 123–125. ISBN .
Weapons of the American Civil War
|Rifles and muskets|
|Rapid fire weapons|
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.50-140 Sharps cartridges
|Place of origin||USA|
|Parent case||.50 Basic|
|Case type||Rimmed, straight-taper|
|Bullet diameter||.512 in (13.0 mm)|
|Neck diameter||.529 in (13.4 mm)|
|Shoulder diameter||.529 in (13.4 mm)|
|Base diameter||.551 in (14.0 mm)|
|Rim diameter||.652 in (16.6 mm)|
|Case length||3.25 in (83 mm)|
|Overall length||3.95 in (100 mm)|
|Primer type||Large rifle|
|Test barrel length: 30"|
Source(s): The Complete Blackpowder Handbook 
The .50-140 Sharpsriflecartridge is a black-powder cartridge that was introduced in 1884 as a big game hunting round. It is believed to have been introduced for the Sharps-Borchardt Model 1878 rifle. The cartridge is very similar to the .500 Black Powder Express.
This round was introduced by Winchester 3 years after the Sharps Rifle Company closed its doors in 1881. It is similar to, though larger than, the .50-90 Sharps.
Bullet diameter is typically .512 in (13.0 mm), with weights of 600 to 700 grains (39 to 45 g).
The powder charge is typically 140 grains (9.1 g) of black powder. Modern substitutes such as Pyrodex are sometimes used, although using smaller charges since pyrodex is less dense than black powder. In a strong action with modern smokeless powder, it can exceed a 500-grain (32 g) .458 Winchester Magnum velocity while using a heavier 550-grain (36 g) bullet.
The .50-140 was created for big game hunting, and was the most powerful of the Sharps Bison cartridges. However, it was introduced about the time of the end of the great Bison herds. An obsolete round, ammunition is not produced by any major manufacturer although reloading components and brass can be acquired or home-built.
Rifles are infrequently produced by a few companies. They are typically used for bison hunting and reenactments. Occasionally, the .50-140 is used in vintage competitions, although some shooters claim it produces heavier recoil than other old-time cartridges such as the .45-70.
- ^ abThe Complete Blackpowder Handbook (3rd Edition), Book by Sam Fadala, Krause Publishing, 1996 p.248
- ^Walter, John (2006). The Guns that Won the West: Firearms on the American Frontier, 1848-1898. Greenhill Books. p. 264. ISBN .
- ^Wieland, Terry (2006). Dangerous-Game Rifles. Countrysport Press. p. 283. ISBN .
- ^Fadala, Sam (2006). The Complete Blackpowder Handbook (5th ed.). Gun Digest Books. p. 203. ISBN .
- ^ ab".50-140 Sharps"(PDF). Accurate Powder. Western Powders Inc. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2004-02-05. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- ^Hawks, Chuck. "Bison Cartridges of the American Frontier". ChuckHawks.com. Archived from the original on 10 October 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- Accurate Smokeless Powders Loading Guide Number Two (Revised), Book by Accurate Arms Co, Wolfe Publishing, 2000 p. 371