The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: General

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old July 2, 2009, 12:59 PM   #1
lxvnrsw
Junior Member
 
Join Date: July 2, 2009
Posts: 5
Sharps vs. Springfield Trapdoor

Well here's my problem: I really want to get a classic Sharps buffalo gun but I'm finding that they're all a bit out of an 18 year old's price range (both new reproductions and original guns). So wanting to still get my hands on a classic American firearm, I turned my sights to the Springfield Trapdoor, possibly a model 1884 or later so that the rifle can shoot slightly more powerful loads (the Springfields made after 1884 had thicker breeches which could tolerate more powerful loads, or at least so I've heard).

So I was wondering: the Springfield Trapdoor probably is not nearly as accurate as the classic Sharps, but seeing as I want to get a rifle to shoot, not just to look at, would a Springfield Trapdoor still deliver respectable accuracy, especially if I installed an aftermarket tang sight? I would also hand load cartridges to save money and improve precision, but for an affordable price do you think I could still get a good shooter? What should I expect to spend on a Springfield that that meets my criterion? Is there any particular year of Springfields that I should seek out/avoid? I'm really just looking for any advice that I can get.

Thanks,

Lxvnrsw
lxvnrsw is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 02:01 PM   #2
Bart Noir
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 5, 2000
Location: Puget Sound, USA
Posts: 1,625
Whoa! Are you talking about powerful loads in the real McCoy, made-in-1880s trapdoor?

Perhaps your real choice is a modern trapdoor, of which there are some made in Italy (Uberti or Pieta or somebody, you do the search).

There are new Rolling Blocks being made, with some coming from the US of A. Those might be pricey.

Bart Noir
__________________
“There’s a rattle in my glove box,
A Federal twelve-gauge slug.” – Adam Carroll in song Porter Wagoner
Bart Noir is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 02:11 PM   #3
Joat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 31, 2008
Location: Dayton, TX
Posts: 383
For "more powerful load" stay away from the trapdoor rifles. For low to low-mid powered loads they are a lot of fun but anything past a mid power load in a trapdoor is a potential problem. I have personally witnessed 2 failures of trapdoors that were loaded with "hotter" rounds. neither one caused serious injury to the shooter (but their shorts were another matter)
There are other options out there as well other than the sharps or the trapdoor. a remington rolling block is a good choice in that caliber. usually less expensive than either a sharps or springfield.

Joat
__________________
All things being equal, fat people use more soap. (I know I am one.) High speed, low drag does not even come close to describing ME.
Joat is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 02:45 PM   #4
4EVERM-14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2006
Location: Pennsy
Posts: 569
What about loading Black Powder? It's alot more work but the fun level goes up accordingly. Launching 400-500 grain slugs with the resulting clouds of smoke is a trip. Originals can hold the pressure and accuracy can be much better then one might think. Modern repro Sharps' and original trapdoors could even be in a similar price range.
__________________
David
NRA Benefactor Member
Distinguished Rifleman #731
Presidents 100
4EVERM-14 is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 02:48 PM   #5
Big Ugly Tall Texan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 25, 2009
Location: El Paso, Texas
Posts: 174
It's an apples and oranges thing

Even though both are available in .45-70.

If you want a Sharps, save your money and get a Sharps.

There is really no comparison between a Sharps and a Trapdoor Springfield.
__________________
Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you! - Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita K. made the prediction. Barry O. will make it come true. - Big Ugly Tall Texan
"The 9mm Luger cartridge will simply not do for serious work." - Jeff Cooper
"Do not throw rocks at people with guns." - Hastings' Third Law
Big Ugly Tall Texan is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 03:45 PM   #6
lxvnrsw
Junior Member
 
Join Date: July 2, 2009
Posts: 5
what I mean by "higher power loads" were by no means modern, high velocity 45-70 rounds. I read up online that after 1884 the Springfields had heavier breaches which allowed the usage of (slightly) more powerful rounds. I think I would like to get into the art of reloading with black powder, even if it does mean more cleaning and maintenence. But still, what should I expect to pay for a good Springfield? How about for comparison, a Sharps, either original or reproduction (I assume the reproductions are more accurate, but I might be mistaken)?
lxvnrsw is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 04:22 PM   #7
Big Ugly Tall Texan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 25, 2009
Location: El Paso, Texas
Posts: 174
Here's some links to get you started:

For Sharps rifles:

http://www.navyarms.com/single_shot.html

http://www.uberti.com/firearms/1874_sharps.php

http://www.shilohrifle.com/model1874.html

http://www.riflesmith.com/rifles.html

http://www.dixiegunworks.com/default...0e6659c75998aa

http://www.davide-pedersoli.com/?ite...Id=260&lang=en

Trapdoor Springfields:

http://www.uberti.com/firearms/springfield_trapdoor.php

http://www.dixiegunworks.com/default.php?cPath=21_24_51

http://possibleshop.com/trapdoors-p.htm

http://www.traditionsfirearms.com/es...tCode=RC739002

http://www.emf-company.com/cart/prod...p=CCSTDC457022

http://www.davide-pedersoli.com/?ite...Id=270&lang=en
__________________
Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you! - Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita K. made the prediction. Barry O. will make it come true. - Big Ugly Tall Texan
"The 9mm Luger cartridge will simply not do for serious work." - Jeff Cooper
"Do not throw rocks at people with guns." - Hastings' Third Law
Big Ugly Tall Texan is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 04:39 PM   #8
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,183
If you even THINK you might end up with a Trapdoor Springfield, get The Book.

Reloading Cartridges for the Original 45-70 Springfield Rifle & Carbine
http://www.the45-70book.com/The-Book...pence-Pat-Wolf

If I wanted a Trapdoor to shoot, I would want an 1884 with Buffington rear sight.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 06:17 PM   #9
DnPRK
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 24, 2001
Location: LC, Ca
Posts: 1,764
Shoot black powder loads. To get good accuracy, you'll want to size your cast lead bullets to match your groove diameter +0.001 to +0.002". Use Winchester LR primer, Goex Cartridge powder compacted twice, a 0.030 fiber wad and thumb seated bullet with good lube. And use a blow tube between shots.

Learn more about black powder cartridges by Googling "BPCR" and "Black powder cartridge rifle"
DnPRK is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 06:28 PM   #10
W. C. Quantrill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 11, 2008
Location: No Man's Land
Posts: 354
Your breech strength of the Trapdoor is limited by the latch on the breechblock, not the thickness of the breech. Trapdoors are black powder only guns.

As far as accuracy, the Springfield is just as accurate as a Sharps, they were expected to do 16" groups at 1000 yards. I cant see that far, so I cant tell you, but I do shoot an original Springfield, I wish it were an '84 but the reason for the 84's was for their improved sights. I can make easy 250 yard shots with it using my .45-70-500 loads. My barrel does not particularly care for the .45-55-405 carbine loads, or the .45-70-405 loads, it is dead nuts with the 500 gr bullets and 70 grains of compressed Goex FFG.

Ditto on the Spence Wolf loading book. There is a particular technique to loading accurate .45-70's for the TD Springfield that varies from the Sharps loads. Do not even for a fleeting instant think about pouring anything other than real black powder in those cases.
__________________
NRA Life
Whittington Center Life
W. C. Quantrill is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 07:06 PM   #11
Dezynco
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 7, 2008
Posts: 401
When you talk about budget, how much $$$ are you willing to spend?

If you decide to get a Trapdoor, DO NOT fire any modern "factory" ammo in it, even if it is a new replica. You'll end up with little pieces. The 45-70 was originally designed to fire black powder, and believe it or not, is most accurate with black powder. There are some safe smokeless factory loads out there, but you'll get the best results by "rolling your own".

I shoot a Pedersoli replica of a Sharps, the accuracy with black powder and heavy lead bullets is unbelievable!
Dezynco is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 07:17 PM   #12
kozak6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 16, 2005
Location: AZ
Posts: 2,322
Have you considered the H&R Buffalo Classic?
kozak6 is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 08:44 PM   #13
lxvnrsw
Junior Member
 
Join Date: July 2, 2009
Posts: 5
I have not looked at the H&R Buffalo Classic but my only questions is that since I am 18 years old, could I even buy ammunition for it (at least in Minnesota, you need to be 21 years old to purchase pistol ammunition)? I'm not 100% sure if .45 Colt is classified as a pistol or a rifle ammunition...

As for price range, it would be nice to get a trapdoor for between $500 and $700, with the cheaper the better so long as the barrel and breech are in good condition (again, I'm looking for a gun to shoot, not to look at).

Finally, any other resources to look into to learn how to shoot/reload/maintain a black powder cartridge rifle?
lxvnrsw is offline  
Old July 2, 2009, 08:45 PM   #14
lxvnrsw
Junior Member
 
Join Date: July 2, 2009
Posts: 5
Oh yeah, and it would be really cool if I could get a Sharps in that price range instead...but I think that's going to be a slim possibility...
lxvnrsw is offline  
Old July 3, 2009, 12:15 AM   #15
Buzzcook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 5,630
You might want to try a modern version of the falling block such as the Ruger No. 1
There are a few break open models like the H&R and the Handirifle.

If you do have to have a Sharps, consider going real old school with paper cartridge rifles. They are just as fun to shoot and less expensive because you don't pay for the brass and molding your own bullets is a snap.
http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewIte...Item=132827421
Buzzcook is offline  
Old July 3, 2009, 06:48 AM   #16
taylorce1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 18, 2005
Location: On the Santa Fe Trail
Posts: 5,511
Here is one that would probably fit into your price range as well:

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=132940767
taylorce1 is offline  
Old July 3, 2009, 07:01 AM   #17
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,183
I have not looked at the H&R Buffalo Classic but my only questions is that since I am 18 years old, could I even buy ammunition for it (at least in Minnesota, you need to be 21 years old to purchase pistol ammunition)? I'm not 100% sure if .45 Colt is classified as a pistol or a rifle ammunition...

You need to read the catalog a little closer. The H&R Buffalo Classic is a .45-70 not .45 Colt.

As for price range, it would be nice to get a trapdoor for between $500 and $700, with the cheaper the better so long as the barrel and breech are in good condition (again, I'm looking for a gun to shoot, not to look at).

I don't usually play Internet Price is Right, but that may not be realistic unless you either run across a seller who does not know what he has or find an altered gun. Which is not impossible, there have been a good number of rifles cut down to carbine length.

Finally, any other resources to look into to learn how to shoot/reload/maintain a black powder cartridge rifle?

I like books in print. These are good, in addition to the Wolf book.
http://www.shilohrifle.com/catalog/p...products_id=51
http://www.shilohrifle.com/catalog/p...products_id=57

This is a pretty good www treatment:
http://www.ssbpcrc.co.uk/Resources/I...%20Loading.pdf

You can poke around the board where there are a lot of very experienced shooters at
http://shilohrifle.com/forums/index.php

There are tech articles and a board at
http://www.bpcr.net/
Jim Watson is offline  
Old July 3, 2009, 07:29 AM   #18
dalegribble
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 4, 2007
Posts: 861
i think cabelas has sharps rifles that start at $700, The H&R Buffalo classic is very nice also at about $400. if there is a cabelas near you ask at the gun counter.
__________________
Waltzes with woofs
dalegribble is offline  
Old July 3, 2009, 07:32 AM   #19
fineredmist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 2, 2008
Location: Wethersfield, ct
Posts: 120
Expand your search to include a Winchester 1885 High Wall, they are great shooters.
fineredmist is offline  
Old July 3, 2009, 10:47 PM   #20
.300 Weatherby Mag
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 6, 2008
Posts: 1,777
I would save my money for the sharps... Although I understand the historical significance of the trapdoor... To me they are nothing more than an Okie lash up... The sharps is a better rifle in every respect.... Also look at the winchester high walls (as previously mentioned) and remington rolling blocks..
.300 Weatherby Mag is offline  
Old July 3, 2009, 11:12 PM   #21
lxvnrsw
Junior Member
 
Join Date: July 2, 2009
Posts: 5
Buzzcook, tell me more about this paper cartridge reloading. I placed a bid on that rifle on Gunbroker.com, but I'm afraid I'm still below the reserve. Do you have any suggestions for websites where I could learn more about paper cartridge reloading and/or companies that produce accurate paper cartridge rifles?

I really must thank all the members of the firing line that have contributed to this tread: your commentary have been entertaining, informative, and incredibly helpful in giving a novice sounds advice. Thank you again for you honest and straight forward advice.
lxvnrsw is offline  
Old July 4, 2009, 04:41 AM   #22
kiwi56
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2009
Location: Auckland NewZealand
Posts: 350
Sharps vs ?

My own personal choice would be between a Sharps RollingBlock and Highwall
kiwi56 is offline  
Old July 4, 2009, 05:25 AM   #23
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,183
Remington made the Rolling Block in the USA.
Do things differently in your hemisphere, eh?

Winchester 1885 Single Shot ("Highwall") is superior in every respect except movie credits.

Quote:
Do you have any suggestions for websites where I could learn more about paper cartridge reloading and/or companies that produce accurate paper cartridge rifles?
http://www.shilohrifle.com/forums/vi...278890715d81ac

But, in my opinion, a "papercutter" is not where you should be starting out. They call for a good deal more management than a brass cartridge rifle.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old July 4, 2009, 01:30 PM   #24
SeekHer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 4, 2005
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 295
What about the H&R Springfield rifle and carbine (Officer's) that were sold during the 1970s and 80s...they took a modern .45/70 cartridge...I believe they were of the last pattern made, be that 1884 or later I don't know...

I fired my friend's carbine--kicks like a mule and the barrel is too short for really good accuracy but a great bush gun for hunting...

The military called it the 18XX Springfield Rifle the civilians much later labelled it the Trapdoor model...
__________________
There is a certain type of mentality that thinks if you make certain inanimate objects illegal their criminal misuse will disappear!

When the human race dies out, it will be because it was brainwashed to be so totally, completely, utterly safe that it no longer dared to keep on living
SeekHer is offline  
Old July 4, 2009, 02:47 PM   #25
Buzzcook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 5,630
You should really go to the black powder forum here for good information about paper cartridge breech loaders.

Basically you buy or mold lead bullets. Usually those will be in the 50+ caliber range. The Sharps repro I fired was an 1863 in .54 caliber.
You can either buy special paper made for the purpose to make the cartridge or find regular paper that is similar to rolling paper.

A dowel is placed at the base of the bullet and the paper rolled around both, then glued.

Black powder or a modern equivalent is poured into the open end of the paper, then sealed. Powder loads for the rifle I fired were from 90gr to 120gr. iirc 140gr was the maximum recommended.

The cartridge is loaded into the breech and closing the action snips off the end of the paper.

A cap is placed on the nipple, some people use primers.

Then following the 4 rules you safely discharge the rifle.

As I said that's just the bare bones. Black powder experts and perhaps cowboy shooters can give you much better detail.

I can just say that shooting that rifle was a hoot and a half.
Buzzcook is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13489 seconds with 9 queries