1874 Sharps 45-90 reloading questions.

Punisher29073

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I am picking up a Pendersoli Dixon Sharps 1874 with a 6x scope on it next weekend. This is my first forray into this type of gun. It is a 45-90. I would like to reload to shoot 600-1000 yds with it. My heart wants to reload black powder paper patch rounds but my brain say grease groove smokeless. I have no experience with anything but modern rifle reloading. Anyone here have experience in this area?

Ryan
 

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sandwarrior

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Nice find punisher. I can't give you a load, but I would look on Hodgdon's website and start there. As you say, grease-groove fake black powder is going to be easier, but look into the real black powder loads too. The only thing I know about real black powder is NEVER leave a gap between the powder and projectile. The explosive properties of black powder can do more than you think they will vs. the burn properties of smokeless "fake" black powder.
 

kraigWY

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You need to use soft lead bullets and dont push them too fast. Lyman's 535 gr bullet # 457132 is about the best you can find for long range.

I think youre best bet would be to pick up Lyman's BLACK POWDER HANDBOOK & LOADING MANUAL.
 

Punisher29073

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Thanks for the info. Keep it coming. I will order a couple of those books to start with.

SW - thanks. I didnt know that but makes sense considering how you load a muzzle loader.

I plan to get a good load for it, then remove the scope for a vernier sight.

Ryan
 

D_TROS

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Also recently picked up the exact rifle/scope but in 45-120

Also a rook in the department of these man cannons. Got the brass (3.25 inches long lol) dies (3 die set) and lead. Cant decide on a powder.

How do you know if the rifle can handle smokless powder?
Is it ok if the case isn't full? (of smokless)

I also read using a filler is VERY bad for the barrel as essentially the "filler" compresses and causes damage to bore somhow.

Thanks for any leads. Will be looking to get a couple books mentioned above.


Regards,
DT
 

sandwarrior

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Also recently picked up the exact rifle/scope but in 45-120

Also a rook in the department of these man cannons. Got the brass (3.25 inches long lol) dies (3 die set) and lead. Cant decide on a powder.

How do you know if the rifle can handle smokless powder?
Is it ok if the case isn't full? (of smokless)

I also read using a filler is VERY bad for the barrel as essentially the "filler" compresses and causes damage to bore somhow.

Thanks for any leads. Will be looking to get a couple books mentioned above.


Regards,
DT
It is okay to use a non full case with smokeless powder. It's blackpowder that needs to be full.

I do not know if filler will damage the bore. I know people who use it regularly it doesn't seem to affect anything. It would be best to consult a reloading manual. If you do not find the answer you are looking for contact the powder MFG'r to get the straight scoop from them.
 

lonegunman762x51

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I recently tried some new 45-90 loads with a 385gr bullet and Blackhorn 209 powder. The idea was they would work in my 1886 lever gun and Sharps rifle, they are a millimeter to long for the 1886. That being said, the powder was actually very nice, a little smokey and easy to clean up, similar to black powder but no extra equipment required to load. The downside is they the powder is sold in 10oz containers so it is a mild robbery.
 

jbell

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I miss my 1874, what an amazingly accurate rifle, and so fun to shoot! I am always keeping an eye out for a 45-110 or 45-120, especially an Axtell...
 

Supersubes

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Id use real black powder personally. My target load ES figures can’t be touched by any smokeless load. Typically lower than modern SD figures for a 10 shoot string. Paper patching is neat, and what I like to shoot, but it’s another layer of load developement you’ll have to learn. I suggest grease groove first, then work into PP loads. The books listed above are good, and buffalo arms is a great place to buy stuff.

I don’t buy the air gap danger thing either. An old wives tale imo. The paper cartridge percussion rifles operated with a bunch of gap. Breech seating bullets by target shooters frequently puts the bullets base well above the case mouth in some circumstances. I’d wager that most ringed chambers were caused by smokeless or duplexed loads, not air gap BP loads. There are also quite a few old ordinance dept tests on this subject.

Black powder is quite predictable and safe. That postell bullet that Kraigwy recommended is a good one, and happens to be what I started with, although mine comes out of a buffalo arms mold. It’s got about .650 of bearing surface. If you seated it to the top of the last grease groove (for example),that would leave you about 1.8” of powder space inside the case. To give you an idea of how BP works, you could fill the case with loose BP to a height of 1.8”(about 80 grs), or you could drop tube it to the very top of the case mouth (probably 100+ grains)and use a compression die to cram it down to 1.8”(.6” of compression), and not make a whole hell of a lot of difference. You could also do any variation between that in pursuit of a good load. In other words, your smokeless powder knowledge doesn’t apply to BP.

I think the only loads that consistency didn’t perform well in my shilohs have been light bullet plinker loads. Everything heavy has shot for me though.

The old dead guys were loading this stuff around camp fires after a day’s hunting, it isn’t rocket science. Fun as hell though!
 

Dog&Jeep

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I picked up a Pedersoli Quigley last April. It's a 45-70. It's become an obsession. (As people here warned me it would be...)

My first few bullets were smokeless. Once I switched to black powder, I haven't looked back. My current load is 60 grains of 1.5 Swiss with a .30" vegi-wad, Capped by a 535 gn Postell lubed with SPG. (Seating that bullet takes a little over .25" of powder compression.) At 100 yards that load produces tighter groups than most of the local hooples with scopes can do.

Since you're running that scope, what I have to say next doesn't really apply. But I'm gonna say it anyways: Pedersoli makes some fantastics barrels, but their period sights leave a lot to be desired. I upgraded to Kelly Soule and globe sights. That led to a big improvement in shooting over the course of a day.

These guns command the respect of everybody at the range. They're huge fun to shoot.

Congratulations on your find.
 

Punisher29073

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That is great info. Do you cast your own bullets?

I plan to use the scope for load devolopment but then remove for good sights. Note taken.

Thanks for input.

Ryan
 

Dog&Jeep

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Yes, I do.
A short while ago, an old timer in my area passed on and his family dumped all his bullet make stuff at our local gun shop. Besides his tools, (that I snatched up) there was about 900 pounds of cast bullets sitting in vacum packaged 50 round boxes. Beautiful looking bullets cast in a 20:1 lead/tin alloy. I tried shooting a few as is, but my Sharps didn't like them. So I used them as lead for casting 535 gn Postell's. (Lyman mold number 457132) In the end, the gun shop got tired of the bullets taking up space so they gave them all to me just to get them out of there. So at some point in the future, I still need to learn about mixing alloys. For now, I'm cheating.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a different Lyman mold for a flat-nose 405 gn bullet that I want to use with a Rem Rolling Block that found its way into my safe. (Did I mention that block powder shooting is really addictive?) Anyhow, the mold makes such a beautiful hassle-free bullet that I decided to try some out of the Sharps.

They grouped well, but at 100 yards the POI dropped just over 8" compared to 535 gn Postells. This surprised me. I've since heard from several sources that this is due to the shorter period of time that the lighter and faster bullet spends in the barrel subject to recoil/barrel rise. I had never encountered this to any significant degree with modern rifles. But with these big slow moving bullets it's very pronounced.
 

polish handgunner

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About 20 years ago I purchased a used Pedersoli 1874 Sharps Billy Dixon model in 45/70.
I replaced the tang sight with a Pedersoli souls sight.
That was a mistake!
I then purchase a MVA Buffalo souls sight with a Hadley eye piece.
I also replaced the Pedersoli ‘bubble’ front sight with a better one - no cold molasses slow bubble level.
My loads have been 60 to 61 grains of Swiss 2FFg or Swiss 3FFFg, .03 vegetable wad, slight compression with one lube groove exposed and an overall length of just under 3.00”.
This is with a Lyman home cast Postell Bullet.
I have made hits beyond 1000 yards on occasion!
 

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sandwarrior

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About 20 years ago I purchased a used Pedersoli 1874 Sharps Billy Dixon model in 45/70.
I replaced the tang sight with a Pedersoli souls sight.
That was a mistake!
I then purchase a MVA Buffalo souls sight with a Hadley eye piece.
I also replaced the Pedersoli ‘bubble’ front sight with a better one - no cold molasses slow bubble level.
My loads have been 60 to 61 grains of Swiss 2FFg or Swiss 3FFFg, .03 vegetable wad, slight compression with one lube groove exposed and an overall length of just under 3.00”.
This is with a Lyman home cast Postell Bullet.
I have made hits beyond 1000 yards on occasion!
Hoping you'd see this thread, Karl.:cool: How are things out N. Idaho way?
 

sirhrmechanic

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So now that it's finally not snowing here.... I broke out the mold and started to make some Hexagonal Whitworth paper patched boolits...

I got about 100 cast and about 30 patched in a short afternoon. I could have done more, but it's time for a beer!

I have 20 done with a small dab of (highly-diluted with water) white glue holding the patch corner... but I am concerned that it will not release the paper patch completely and will cause erratic flight. So I ended up doing another 10 with nothing holding the patch on at the top and those worked out just fine... I just had to work on my technique to get the paper to sit down during wrapping so that I could 'capture' the point without it slipping. Turns out no glue needed once you get the technique down. I did put a dab of my diluted glue mixture on the tail to hold the wrap in place.

1589657751670.png

Paper was a gift from a fellow 'Hide member. I love this place! .003" airmail vellum that was just perfect! I designed a parallelogram pattern that puts exactly two layers on a .451 Bullet and the edges match up very well. After the Elmers mixture set up, I rubbed each with a bit of liquid Alox and that is now drying.

I might even go out tomorrow and shoot them all! Get a range report! My first time paper patching and I can't wait to see how it comes out. Very satisfying and relaxing!

Cheers,

Sirhr

P.S. I get 18 patches from each sheet of paper... and I got sent 500 sheets! Since I don't see firing this 9,000 rounds in the immediate future... if someone wants some paper for trying out patching... let me know! It's cheap to mail! Sirhr
 

sandwarrior

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So now that it's finally not snowing here.... I broke out the mold and started to make some Hexagonal Whitworth paper patched boolits...

I got about 100 cast and about 30 patched in a short afternoon. I could have done more, but it's time for a beer!

I have 20 done with a small dab of (highly-diluted with water) white glue holding the patch corner... but I am concerned that it will not release the paper patch completely and will cause erratic flight. So I ended up doing another 10 with nothing holding the patch on at the top and those worked out just fine... I just had to work on my technique to get the paper to sit down during wrapping so that I could 'capture' the point without it slipping. Turns out no glue needed once you get the technique down. I did put a dab of my diluted glue mixture on the tail to hold the wrap in place.

View attachment 7327913

Paper was a gift from a fellow 'Hide member. I love this place! .003" airmail vellum that was just perfect! I designed a parallelogram pattern that puts exactly two layers on a .451 Bullet and the edges match up very well. After the Elmers mixture set up, I rubbed each with a bit of liquid Alox and that is now drying.

I might even go out tomorrow and shoot them all! Get a range report! My first time paper patching and I can't wait to see how it comes out. Very satisfying and relaxing!

Cheers,

Sirhr

P.S. I get 18 patches from each sheet of paper... and I got sent 500 sheets! Since I don't see firing this 9,000 rounds in the immediate future... if someone wants some paper for trying out patching... let me know! It's cheap to mail! Sirhr
What? You, me and all the "likers" on this post all remember when this technology was new?
 
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Dog&Jeep

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Okay Gentlemen, you're getting me inspired.

I've been loading my Pedersoli with greaser bullets (and getting great results), but never made the move to paper patching. Time to change that.
 
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acudaowner

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Love the pics and the guns was a tearjerker congrats on a great find . I have been dreaming of owning one or 6 having . Any plans since you are going to shoot 1k yards of going to the quigley challenge ?
this thing.
 
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Supersubes

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I was just digging my BPCR stuff out the other day. Been packed away since our move two years ago. These bullets are out of custom brooks molds. The greaser is basically a Postel bullet and 530 grains. The PP bullet is flat based and 513 grains with 1:20 alloy. I really enjoy the paper patching. The PP bullet is well under bore size(.447 iirc) when patched so it can be loaded in a dirty bore. Shoots way better than you’d think it would. Im
loading for three variations of 1874 Shilohs in 45-70. Getting antsy to order a shiloh 1877 in a yet to be determined 40 cal. Maybe 40-70SS.
ABD61032-AD93-4936-91EB-D7323C1D5AD8.jpeg
 

SmileMaker

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Cast Bullets.jpg
Collection of bullets from 45 cal molds I have accumulated over the years: Paul Jones Creedmoor, NEI Gunn 349c, 349C nose pour, PJ Money & PJ Money paper patch. I had Brooks make a mold for a paper patch with two diameters so that when patched it can be both bore & groove diameter. Just a long range target round that I haven't had much time to experiment.
 

sirhrmechanic

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Your Finish on those is spectacular. I am not
Coming close on the Whitworth. Even though mold is hot and I am giving them a good set time.

Pedersoli steel mold. Lee production pot at full temp. About 3 percent tin on the hexagonal. Very short drop on the pour (less than 1/4”). They frost fast. Dropping into bucket of water for a chill.

What am I missing to get that level of finish???

sirhr
 

Supersubes

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Your Finish on those is spectacular. I am not
Coming close on the Whitworth. Even though mold is hot and I am giving them a good set time.

Pedersoli steel mold. Lee production pot at full temp. About 3 percent tin on the hexagonal. Very short drop on the pour (less than 1/4”). They frost fast. Dropping into bucket of water for a chill.

What am I missing to get that level of finish???

sirhr
What do you mean “drop” on the pour? Like a stream of lead out the bottom of the pot? That could be your issue. I pour with a ladle, which remains in contact with the mold for a few seconds. “head pressure” I think it’s called, which fills the mold better. After that I’d say mold cleanliness or pot/ mold temperature.
 
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sirhrmechanic

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What do you mean “drop” on the pour? Like a stream of lead out the bottom of the pot? That could be your issue. I pour with a ladle, which remains in contact with the mold for a few seconds. “head pressure” I think it’s called, which fills the mold better. After that I’d say mold cleanliness or pot/ mold temperature.
Yes, that is the drop. I can try direct contact next batch. That puts a lot of head pressure on the mold. I will also give a good cleaning to my molds! Cheers!