View Full Version : Starting in BPCR

James Kain
December 19, 2008, 04:46 PM
I have had a interest now for some time to get a bpcr. I was wondering for anyone who uses them if there would be anything I should know and or do before/when I get started? I do cast my own bullets, and am also looking in to swaging.
Any help would be grateful!
I have always loved the Sharps Style rifles. Is that a good starting rifle? I m also looking in to maybe 40-60 to start with. Unless there is a smaller cal I could work with?
I have always been the type not wanting the biggest one on the shelf but practical app. But for some the biggest one is practical. Of cose it will get the job done but dose over kill come in to play. I d love to do BPCR comp. but in Maine there is hardly anyone who dose it out of cowboy action shooting.

December 19, 2008, 07:20 PM
You have asked the aged old question" what gun to shoot for BPCR".
I would first direct you to Shilo's website and go the forum there.More information there than I could possibly relay in this thread.
With that said, you will find the 45-70 to be the closest thing to being all things to most shooters.It is by far the easiest and least expensive to load.Tons of information on this cartridge.(Most tested cartridge ever)
I have two Shilo Sharps rifles, one is what's called a "safe queen" meaning it is a fancy rifle ($3000.00 + 18 mos. wait) I am not a rich man,Shilo lets you pay on it until it is built, it is a #1 Sporter with fancy wood some engraving, it was my first Sharps rifle It is chambered for 45-70, it is the first rifle I ever shot that gave me 5 for 5 in the X ring. Virtually five bullets in the same ragged hole!
My second Shilo Sharps is a very plain jane # 1 Sporter in 40-70 Sharps Straight, standard wood, regular case hardened. It sports a 32" half oct/round barrel. And it shoots as well as my 45-70, I think it has a better "cool factor" than the real fancy rifles I paid $1800.00 for this one. I think this rifle represents what the vast majority of original Sharps Shooters used during the buffalo hunting days.
Nobody builds a finer rifle in these United States, they are works of art at any level.
If I could persuade you not to buy any of the Italian reproduction rifles, not that they don't shoot well some of them shoot real well.But they miss the mark of a exceptional rifle in alot of areas.I just like the idea of Americans building the 1874's they are the by far the best there is.It sounds like alot of money, but when you consider any smokeless rifles (good ones) they are are a bargain. These rifles(Shilo's) will be around for the next 150 years. I have had the Italian reproduction 1885, I sold it as soon my Shilo arrived.

James Kain
December 19, 2008, 08:11 PM
I have always been a fan of all the old military style rifles! Hell I own a M1, M1 Carbine, Endfield SMLE(1971 I m not rich), 1903A3 Springfield, 1941 Tov, a 1853 3band endfield(repro for civil war reenacting) and paying on a Fin-Mosin Nagunt. I right now am having a pre sporter (it wasnt bad but not good job on that stalk chop) at the smith to get modded for my use as a coyote "sniper" rifle. In my opinion there is no dif from a coyote and sniper rifle except chamber.

That in mind, I saw the 1874 Military Rifle and was wicked happy. I looked at 63 but its caplock, but breach loading. The 74 is chambered in 30-40K / 40-65 / 45-70 / 50-70, Shiloh 40-82, 40-50ST. Now if I do end up with this it would be topped with a MVA ADJUSTABLE SCOPE with maybe the Centerless 6 Mil-Dot Reticle or 7 Mil Dot Reticle.

OK So my Guss the 30-40K would be the 3040Kreg? Was that originally a BPCR or was it always smokeless? If its BP I m all over it! Because I already have molds of it. Because I shoot lead from most of my 30cals. *30cal is most abundent is why I have so many, my fav is 6.5mm/.264*

I will be selling at some point soon is a Knock off of H&K 91, and Re-barrel Mauser 98 in 308, reason for mauser sell is re-barrel was done badly! 3 scops and 2 ring sets and it will not hit anything past 50yds if you can hit that....I know I can shoot less then 1moa at 50!! ... ... ...

December 19, 2008, 08:27 PM
Order a couple of books from Buffalo Arms and read them from cover to cover-twice. Then decide how much you want to spend, and go from there. I have seen a lot of guys start out with the H&R Buffalo Classic with good results. These rifles are definitely not a Shiloh, but they are $300 or $400. Not a bad price to start with. Tom.

James Kain
December 19, 2008, 08:30 PM
Is there a website for that CO.?

Jim Watson
December 19, 2008, 08:41 PM
I shoot some BPCR. Mostly metallic silhouette and a little mid-range (200-600 yd.) I started out with a .38-55 Winchester which is very soft to shoot but got tired of not knocking down all the rams I hit. I recently bought a Browning (Jap Miroku) 1885 BPCR .40-65 to get more knockdown but not as much recoil as .45-70.

I have a barrel of fun, but it is some of the most demanding handloading I have ever done to get decent results. I am at present not casting and am buying bullets, which is kind of a drag, you never know if the other guy takes as much care as you do.

.30-40 Krag was never a BP round.

There are some efforts to stretch the .38s to longer range but I had all of that I wanted. The .40-65 is a very manageable round but is not authentic to the Sharps, it is a Winchester 1886 cartridge. The period correct .40-70 Sharps (straight or bottleneck) is said to be a little harder to work with.

But the .45-70 is the place to start. As said, it was one of the more developed rounds of the era, leading three lives as .45 Government 1873 (Trapdoor Springfield), .45 x 2 1/10" Sharps, and .45-70 Winchester.

Shiloh Sharps are great quality but are running nearly two years behind on orders, unless they have one you like in stock. You can pay Bill Goodman a $200 premium and get one in a few months. C. Sharps is as good, although not as social a bunch, and has more guns on hand and shorter delivery on orders.

Pedersoli is the only one of the Italian copies worth a look and the exchange rate of the Euro makes them less attractive versus an American gun, especially if you can keep the fancy option list out of your pocketbook.

There are others, I prefer the Winchester; you can get a good Ballard or Rolling Block, too.

Get a shooting rifle. A shotgun butt is a lot more comfortable to shoot than the military butt of a Quigley or the crescent butt of a lot of old Winchsters; and a pistol grip is better for most folks. A 30 inch barrel is right for velocity and sight radius, longer is just a place for fouling to accumulate. I'd rather have a plain trigger adjusted to maybe two pounds, but I am in the minority, most prefer the set triggers.

The MVA scope is a fine piece of kit. Your scores will not necessarily be higher than with tang peep and globe fronts, though.

See http://www.buffaloarms.com/
Ask them for a print catalog, it is easier to get around in than the website if you just want to browse.

James Kain
December 19, 2008, 09:39 PM
Dose anyone have any links of BPCR Arms CO.'s? I would love to look around but just do not know of many. I d rather not brake the bank seeing how I m getting custom work done to my 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser.

James Kain
December 19, 2008, 09:50 PM
I agree with the single trigger. Never did like the set triggers. I have used a few before and after using them I always avoided anything with a set trigger. Hell I once set a trigger for bench shooting to just under 1lbs. I tell you, I never put a round in it until I was ready to let her fly. I only use that on the bench!

Is there a place I could pick up a new repro of a trapdoor? I completely forgot about those! I remember reading a story about Buffalo Bill and he was challenged by someone to a Buffalo shooting contest. Buffalo Bill won the day using a slower trapdoor compared to his competitor using a lever 44 or 45 colt. The difference was he was using either a 50/45-70. The exact cal slips my mind. Everyone was dumbfounded about how the slower rifle won. I m sure they had a train load of people watching.(not joking about the train load)

December 20, 2008, 08:54 AM
My two cents! Start with a 45/70 because it is easy to load, reloading items are easy to find and it is a great shooter. Try Dixie Gun Works to look at rifles and add on shooting products that you may want/need in the future. Read some of the other posts here. Good Luck.

Jim Watson
December 20, 2008, 09:58 AM
Makers and dealers to get you started


Specialized boards:

In addition to the loading information on the above boards see also:

As you will see, BPCR is not a cheap sport if you want an authentic rifle. You can make a start with the H&R which is good enough for casual shooting and Cowboy Long Range but will not be found in competition with the major makes. Although if you can make yours shoot like John Boy's, it might could hang in there. John Boy posts on the Shiloh board and on the SASS Wire

Pedersoli makes a Trapdoor. At one time you could get a clean original for not much more than the price of a reproduction, but those days may be past unless you are a very careful shopper and somewhat lucky. Again, I do not see trapdoors in competition versus Sharps and other falling block sporting and target rifles.

Buffalo Bill Cody's favorite rifle was "Lucrezia Borgia", a .50-70 Trapdoor Springfield, probably a model of 1870.

James Kain
December 20, 2008, 11:33 AM
outstanding links THANKS! But as I look threw them I see little to no trapdoors, anyone know of links or arms Co.'s that sell or make them?
Thank all of you again for the help!

December 20, 2008, 12:08 PM
If you have the time, haunt the gunshops. Trapdoors show up fairly frequently. I have a TD carbine that I picked up by chance - it was very well cared for - and it wasn't the only one on the rack that day. They are out there.
I know that you a partial to the beautiful Sharps rifles but...the 1885 Hi-wall is another strong fine classic.

December 20, 2008, 12:35 PM
If you keep your eyes peeled the H&R TrapDoor shows up from time to time. The Officer's model is a pretty nice rifle with a tang sight. Granted the tang sight is not the best one made, but it is more than adequate. These rifles turn up from time to time from $600-$800. And they are some good shooters. I really enjoy shooting mine. I run a 405 grain bullet about 1200 fps out of her. Just be sure you keep your loads light. Tom.

Jim Watson
December 20, 2008, 12:46 PM
The only current repro trapdoors I know of are the Pedersoli and the Uberti, so you are not going to find pages and pages of choices. See at Dixie:
and at Uberti

You CAN get a shootable original for the list price of the Uberti.

There are a couple of Springfield Trapdoor sites on a quick Google: