View Full Version : Pedersoli Sharps

A Hatch
January 17, 2012, 02:31 AM
Hi, new here.
We have a pedersoli Sharpe "Boss" rifle 45-110, which we aquired to use for long range shooting, 800-1000 yards loaded with black powder. Bullets are 550grains and provided by the seller. First problem - loaded via a drop tube and rifle FF grade powder, it is impossible to get more than75-80 grains in the case and have the bullet seated so that it will load.
This round keyholes at 30 yards !
On questioning, the seller he says to reduce the loads to 70 or 60 grains of charge as we have loaded to much powder. Our loadeder (who owns several sharps copys and loads for them) says this is a wast of time, given the range we need the rifle to be demonstrated at. Pedersoli is also a little slowin reply when we have ask about this.
Any ideas here please.
Thank you,

January 17, 2012, 04:36 AM
The first thing that I'd suspect is the length of the bullet and the rate of twist compatibility. A phenomenon that has been noticed is that when bullets barely stabilized exit the muzzle, it may take up to 50 yards or maybe more to "settle down" and fly straight. This could very well be what you're seeing.

Look at the muzzle crown to make sure it's dead square to the bore axis...and that the rifling at the crown is uniform. That's the most critical point in the barrel. If the crown isn't true, or the rifling isn't uniform...the bullet yaws on release.

A Hatch
January 17, 2012, 05:09 AM
May I say sorry for posting in the wrong area. Still new to this.
Sounds good advice, thank you. The problem is that the rifle is for demonstration purposes and we are not that "clued up" on this type of fire arm. A more than okay shot can not get it on paper at 100 yards and thinks the charge may be to low ? against what the seller says - We are just lost, and if we had some working load data we may be able to adress the bullet/ rifling situation.
Thank you.

January 17, 2012, 07:21 AM
Give bpcr.net a try. This tipe of gun is all they deal with and are very helpfull.

January 17, 2012, 09:14 AM
I don,t understand 70 gr in a 45-110, I am loading 70.5 gr 1 1/2 swiss in a 45-70 with a 535 gr bullet. That load shot well for me at 800-900 & 1000 yds. A friend just aquired a 45-90 and doing well shooting groups at 100 & 200 yds with the 535 and 85 gr goex 2f. I wish I could be of some help, What I do know is less powder is not the answer.

January 17, 2012, 10:34 AM
Get on the ASSRA web site and ask the questions there. That group is dedicated to long range single shot rifles (American Single Shot Rifle Assoc.). You sound like you jumped into long range black powder shooting without doing enough homework on how to make things work. There is an outstanding book available called "Black Powder Cartridge Reloading Primer" by Mike Venturo, available on line and I think Cabela's sells it. Definately a good place to start. If you're getting keyholing you probably have one or more things wrong. You need to slug your barrel and use a bullet that is 1 or 2 thousandths oversize (cast bullets) and the velocity needs to be enough to stabilize the bullet. Are you weighing powder or measuring by volume? Black powder should never be weighed, it is volume measured. You've got a lot of work in front of you if you're looking to get pin point accuracy out of the gun. FYI- Pedersoli's are excellent rifles. I have a Pedersoli Sharps 45-70 that will shoot five shots an inch or less at 100 yds. It is very common for them to shoot that well. Good luck.
P.S. - I've had Pedersoli sometimes NEVER get back to me with answers to questions. Their customer service is anywhere between poor and non-existant.

Don H
January 17, 2012, 01:22 PM
How long is your drop tube and are you trickling the charge into the tube slowly? Even though a drop tube is being used, most BPCR loads require compression, and not by the bullet, to get a sufficient amount of powder into the case. Compression plugs and dies are sold for this purpose. http://www.buffaloarms.com/powder_compression_plugs_pr-3777.aspx

January 17, 2012, 10:14 PM
Pedersoli makes the best barrels in the business. So, unless your barrel has a flaw that is visible, then the problem isn't your gun.

Most black powder guns need "load development" because there is usually one style of bullet, brand and charge of powder that produces the best accuracy.


January 17, 2012, 11:19 PM
Wow, what a short primer on the Pedersoli Sharps! I had no idea. This is a rifle I've always wanted to own. It's hard to believe that accuracy is so hard to achieve in these rifles known for accuracy.

A Hatch
January 18, 2012, 02:18 AM
Thank you all so much.
Time is the problem. I work for a production team that produces documentrys.
We were told the rifle was "good to go" with the bullets provided, which were cast by the seller, his main "job". When proved not, his reply was a little rude, and his advice, 60-70 grain charge maximum, job done!
Our own firearms man did say this was not his area,( currently off with ill health) and that every other gun provided by this guy has needed work to get it to "good to go." Now we hear others are not happy with this guys castings etc.
You live and learn, do not rush at somthing like this!
The bullets were loaded with a 3ft drop tube if thats any use?
The seller has no intention of having the rifle back, so our firearms man will take it over as a project when he returns. He is our armourer, but this is a little "modern" for him, his field runs out around the flint/cap lock time
I will piont him in the direction of this forum and the others mentioned, I can see he will need help to get this to work well.
No, for those interested in this type of rifle, I think if you buy one for longrange shooting it is will be a project, so remember it will time to get there.
Any information is good and helpful as we may return to this topic later in the year.
But to be clear, lowering the charge around 60 grains with a 550 or above grain bullet is not the way forward ?
Thank you.

A Hatch
January 18, 2012, 02:24 AM
Oh- powder is being used by volume not wieght. The man who did our original loadings with the bullets provided, owns several sharps repro's and was " a little supprised" at the keyhole effect. He did not size the bullets as the rifle was not with him, and we were told these were the bullets needed.
Again you live and learn!

January 18, 2012, 10:30 AM
It sounds like you purchased this rifle for some production you're working on. Is this correct? If so, do you really need to have a 45-110 for some reason? You could achieve accuracy easier with a 45-70 and smokeless loads with a lot less learning curve. In fact, you could use factory loads. What are your actual needs and requirements?

Jim Watson
January 18, 2012, 11:07 AM
Go to:
Menu select
Technical Articles
Under that, menu select
Dick Trenk - Black Powder Cartridge Reloading Guide.
Mr Trenk was the long time US rep for Pedersoli and gives much good information on their management.

See also Chuck Raithel's treatise at:

I consider the likliest problem to be bullet fit.
Pedersoli uses the same 18" twist in all their .45 calibre rifles which is ample for a 550 grain bullet. But the bullet should be of groove diameter or slightly larger. Mr Trenk recommends .458" to .460".

The field representative for Goex powder recommends establishing a starting black powder cartridge load as follows.
Dump a cartridge case completely full of loose powder.
Weigh it, that is your basic load.
I believe this will result in a load of 102-106 grains in .45 x 2 7/8" (.45-110)
To actually load ammunition, drop the powder charge through a drop tube and then compress it with a compression die. Do not compress powder by seating the bullet hard, it will distort the soft lead and cause inaccuracy.

Apply all other requirements for BPCR loading like proper bullet lubrication and an over powder wad.

A Hatch
January 19, 2012, 10:27 AM
Thanks for all the help, the 45-110 was picked because it is visually impressive, and we were told by a supplier that he had one "good to go"and he had the correct tested cast bullets to do the job.
45-70 with modern smokeless powders would have been a far easier way to achieve accuracy.
The image was to have the Rifleman firing, flame and smoke, on one camera.
And on another the bullet hitting the target, with the time lag running.
This would then be presented on a split screen, both both films running side-by-side.
It is a shame this has turned into a project that would take too long for us at the moment, we were led to believe by the firearms dealer as I said everything was "good to go"and that no setup or experimentation was necessary. We were even charged over the top for the rifle, on the grounds that all had work out before and this would be an easy shoot, in all senses.
Our armorer has just returned from sick leave, and he has said he will purchase the rifle and carry on doing the necessary work to achieve accuracy. He very rarely ventures into this "modern" a firearm his work capacity, but for a hobby loads and shoots expressed double rifles, so if not exactly the same use used to loading foibles of some firearms.
Needless to say we will not be using the firearms dealer again!
Please keep the information coming in, as our man will need all the help he can get.
I am hoping we can return to this project later on in the year, and I will let you know when it is completed.

January 19, 2012, 12:48 PM
Would it be possible to hire someone to perform this shot for you? There are plenty of very capable shooters who own and shoot Sharps rifles and could make this shot for you. Also, they might be willing to simply loan you a gun to do this with. Just a thought.

A Hatch
January 20, 2012, 02:56 AM
We do normally engage the services of professionals for this type of thing normally, only we believed the rifle would make a good display piece for our meeting room, we were also told shooting this rifle would be child's play!
We have deadlines to meet and trying to sort this out meant we actually hired a different rifle,(not a Sharps) for a similar effect.
This of course means we can come back to the Sharps at a later time.
Research has unearthed some information, how accurate it is in both senses I'm not sure, that some of the old timers inserted a primed cartridge into the breach, then poured powder down the muzzle, and then rammed the bullet home ? Any ideas on this one?
Thanks again

January 20, 2012, 10:33 AM
that some of the old timers inserted a primed cartridge into the breach, then poured powder down the muzzle, and then rammed the bullet home ? Any ideas on this one?

Sounds like breech seating explained by someone who has no actual experience doing it. :eek: You would want to fill the primed case right to the top with 2F trickled through a long drop tube then use a compression die to compress the load enough to seat a vegetable fiber wad of about .3-.4" thickness even with the case mouth. You seat the bullet from the breech until it is even with or slightly ahead of the case mouth and engraved into the rifling. Then you insert the filled case.

Breech seating will almost certainly "ring" your barrel, so you might want to try using a full, compressed case with a soft alloy bullet seated normally before going down that road.

Jim Watson
January 20, 2012, 11:34 AM
Research has unearthed some information, how accurate it is in both senses I'm not sure, that some of the old timers inserted a primed cartridge into the breach, then poured powder down the muzzle, and then rammed the bullet home ? Any ideas on this one?

I don't say it was never done, but it is not going to solve your problems.

I gather you are not in the USA where there would be a better support base of experienced people to work with you.

January 22, 2012, 11:25 PM
There are several problems in what you're trying to do.
Your beginning info was obviously incorrect.
Working up a load for the BP Sharps replicas doesn't come easy, and it's not a quick process.

An accurate load can easily take weeks to find. Also, 30 or 50 yards is not a good indicator. The people who make the Ballard rifles told me a few years back that they don't consider 100 yards a valid distance for accuracy testing in their rifles, because the big bullet hasn't "gone to sleep yet" & hasn't truly stabilized.


Are you using .45-110 brass? Sounds more like you're using .45-70 brass.
Your BP charge is "measured" by volume, not weight, right?

A Hatch
January 23, 2012, 03:07 AM
We are using 45-110 cases and do not intend to use the" poure and hope" load method, It just shows you what info is out on the net ! No, not in the USA, In Canada and Europe, so info a little thin on the ground.
Noted about "start range" - yes original load info and bullets were all wrong, so starting afresh.
Dose any one know were to get the correct sized bullets from ? AND will they ship to europe ? we are having the same problems trying to find some one to ship blackpowder pistoles to europe. They are made in europe but most are shipped to the USA and the europian dealers we have spoken to seem to have a " take it or leave it " attitude when we ask for something a little different. I must say not having much luck with dealers at the moment !
Again, please keep the info coming.

January 23, 2012, 08:51 AM
If I were you, with the limited knowledge you have at this time, I'd hire someone to bring this project to a conclusion. There are a number of places in Canada where there are very knowledgible shooters and I'd guess there are some in Europe as well. As a former corporate manager, when I needed something done and didn't have the resources in house, I would hire consultants to come in and direct the project. In the long run it's a lot cheaper and the time is better spent. In the process, you will learn what you need to know. I don't believe this would cost much, if anything to do. Shooters are an odd lot, they love to help other people out and enjoy showing what they have learned and can do. I think the cost would be mostly expenses. Just my two cents worth.

Jim Watson
January 23, 2012, 09:36 AM
Midway handles BPCR bullets by Montana Precision Swaging, and they have European brances, you should contact them.

I use bullets from Montana Custom Casting but do not know if Mr Jennings there will ship abroad.

January 23, 2012, 12:49 PM
I'd suggest you either try to locate commercially built ammunition, or find someone who already knows the field & can do what you need for you.
You're starting out with no knowledge base whatever, and you're not going to achieve the results you want either quickly or easily.

Learning that gun, caliber, and big bore BP rifle loading is not something you'll do in a couple weeks.

You would have been better off buying a .45-70 for your purposes, but you CAN still shoot .45-70 loads through your gun. I don't know how far you need to shoot for the camera, but you may be able to get sufficient accuracy with a .45-70 load to show what you need to show.
They may be easier to locate even in Europe, it's a much more popular caliber.

.457-459 bullets are available from a number of sources, check the Internet & find out who'll ship to your location. Not knowing your bore, best to stick with .458-459.

Still think there's something wrong if you can only get 80 grains of BP BY VOLUME in a 110 case.
How are you measuring that grain weight?

A Hatch
January 23, 2012, 01:25 PM
We are shooting to 1000 yards . And now know we are in for a long learning time. It will be more of a hobby for one of our team till it comes together.
We are looking at size of bullets but also need a proved dealer (after the last one !) As said, if it was a double rifle, we know a man that can, this is a whole new thing.
Would it be ok to change to fff powder ? we are dropping powder by volume and when we change bullet we are hopeing this to be the start.

A Hatch
January 23, 2012, 05:35 PM
Thanks for the help, have fireded off a couple of emails to recomended molders and will await responce. Will let you know as we stumble along!
May be of use to some one in the same fix when ever.
Have been looking at bullet lubes, there are a few idea's as to the best one !
we will try as many as we can, original info was " rub with candle wax, any candle will do."
A long road a head here it seems.

January 23, 2012, 10:58 PM
If you're starting from scratch & expecting to hit anything at 1000 yards anytime soon, I think you're in for disappointment.

I sold an unfired Shiloh Sharps to a buddy a few years back, it took him months to find his thousand-yard load in that gun. And he was an experienced reloader with several friends who were also experienced with BP, hand-loading, and Sharps rifles. He knew the basics & had access to some very knowledgeable shooters.
You have none of that.

"Rub with candle wax"? :eek:
Where are you getting this stuff from?
There are BP-specific lubes, SPG has an excellent reputation.

Stay with .458 or .459 bullet diameters. .457 may be undersized & doesn't always (depending on the bullet alloy & hardness) bump up to engage the rifling fully. It may or may not, but if you shoot .458 or .459 it will engage fully for sure & can always swage itself down if it's tight.

3F powder is more appropriate to smaller calibers in handguns.
I'd stick with 2F.
Primers can make a difference, what will you be using?
Have you looked into fiber wads?

I don't mean to give you a hard time, but you don't just buy one of these rifles & expect to be hitting at a thousand yards later the same afternoon. :)
You may want to revise your initial plan for the gun on film.


Jim Watson
January 24, 2012, 09:52 AM
I would use Fg or at most Swiss 1 1/2 Fg (Their numbers 4 and 5 in the home market) in a 2 7/8" just to keep the recoil manageable. FFFg is most often used to try to gain a little extra velocity in a shorter case or to try to refine accuracy. Not a first choice.

As said you need the right diameter bullet and a good lubricant. There are formulae available if you cannot get SPG or DGL. But rubbing a bullet with a candle is not the way to go and your "expert" is an idiot.

Shooting .45x2.1" (.45-70) in a .45x2 7/8" (.45-110) is a waste of time and ammunition if you want to do good target shooting.

January 24, 2012, 02:26 PM
My suggestion of trying .45-70 loads was based on better availability & just trying to give him SOMETHING that would make noise and not keyhole at 30 yards.
Agree it's not the best way to go, and certainly not for 1000 yards in a 110, but it'd be something he could put on film.
I'd think a commercial .45-70 load would be available somewhere in Europe, and if the camera distance was somewhere around 100 yards, it should be do-able.

Jim Watson
January 25, 2012, 08:25 PM
I am not much confident that a .45-70 bullet would jump 3/4" through the longer chamber and still land right way on. But it might be worth a try just for foto effects.

A Hatch
February 4, 2012, 07:34 AM
Many thanks, it is becoming quite clear that the person that sold us this rifle, as "good to go" and with the correct bullets was obviously not such an expert as he led us to believe!
We will not be filming this rifle any time soon, and we have passed it on to our resident armourer, who is more at home with more primitive weapons.
We are introducing to this forum and to the others recommended, he is keen hunter and shooter, and although this is not he's forte, he is hoping to get to grips with this problem. He also understands it's not a "comeback tomorrow, and all will be well". I think he is personally looking forward to the experimentation, and trying many of the "recipes" out there, to trying achieve success.
I'm not sure and do what tab he will sign in as, but I look forward to putting him on this thread.
Again thanks for the help,

600 nitro
February 4, 2012, 12:36 PM
Hi, new to this forum, and trying to reload for this particular type of gun as well. It's now my project and have just joined the ASSRA forum as well, on advice from you guys. I'm looking forward to a interesting time trying to develop and shoot this particular piece.
The my background is more mediaeval, I have built several 14th century, barrel construction, breech loading cannons, tuned a few flintlocks and dog locks. Then I'm afraid apart from collecting reproduction Colt Walker's ( 7 and counting) my knowledge leaps to English double centrefire express rifles. I understand this is going to be a interesting learning curve. I'm hoping to pick up as much information as possible, to reduce my factors, but understand there is probably many contradictory sources out there, and a lot of it will comedown to,pull the trigger and see.
Hoping to have my first crack at this tomorrow.
Wish me luck.

February 4, 2012, 01:43 PM
As long as you understand you won't be filming next week, if you have enough time to allow experimentation the rifle can be interesting.
I think I might be tempted to go back to the con man who sold it to you & express an opinion or two of him....

Good luck, you're somewhat handicapped in your European location & it sounds like the rifle will be quite different from your normal background, but if you stick to it long enough a good load should be achievable.