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Old October 20, 2012, 10:26 PM   #1
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Join Date: October 12, 2012
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 338
How do you all load and seat sharps brass?

Bought a new .54 cal Pedersoli Sharps couple weeks ago.
Been WAY TO windy to shoot, so been busy cleaning and lubing it
and rolling paper cartridges and loading some brass cartridges.
About out od real BP fffg no more local supplier so bought some Pyrodex ffg
anyway on loading the brass.
I bought the mould, new modern round nose and cast a few to get started.
Normally I am to use 80grain fffg. But manual says 50 - 52 grain with the brass.
the seating land on the bullet is .500 dia. the height to first ring .124 on mine anyway.
The casing seating diameter is .493 dia and the depth of seating ring .273
50 gr does not fill full enough to allow slight compression of powder when projectile inserted.
52 is almost over full, but with some gentle tapping to "settle" the powder appears about right.
How much are you pouring in?
do you tap to settle and remove the excess air or just insert?
How do you all insert the bullet?
I find I can't do it by hand, so been gently tapping with a small rubber mallet.
But afraid i may distort the lead also.
I have a snap setter press, tried it and it kinda works.
Is there a special press made for this?
Here's a picture of what I have done so far. I have 30 paper cartridges loaded.
I have my camera set to the smallest file size setting and is still 3x too big.
so will try the camera phone. It comes out at 44kb.
Hopefully winds die down tomorrow. So I can walk out the door and commence to shooting my new toy!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg loaded 54 brass.jpg (43.2 KB, 23 views)
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:33 PM   #2
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I've loaded 40-65 BPCR cartridges w/ blackpowder, but if I understand your situation, this is the "paper" cartridge Sharps rifle? The one where you stuff the paper cartridge into the chamber, and the action of closing the breechblock cuts the end of the cartridge, you install a cap on the nipple, and fire?

I really don't know how to load brass cartridges for that rifle, if this is the case.

But if it helps, or you can glean anything from my experience that will help you, I bought the Lyman BP powder measure and like 3 or 4 feet of drop tubes. The BP is loaded by volume, not weight. So set your measure where you drop the right volume of powder. I used FFg.

First wash and dry fired cases. Tumble clean. Neck size only. Use proper sized expander plug to open cases just enough to where they accept a bullet and still easily fit in the chamber. Charge with powder thru long drop tubes to settle the powder. Next either a fiber or a cardboard wad, followed by 1 or 2 lube wads, a fiber wad, and then the lubed bullet. (I never tried the paper patch bullet).

Here's where things were tricky, and some gunsmithing may be required. The neck portion of the chamber with the properly sized bullet may be a bit small to accommodate the loaded cartridge and still expand enough to release the bullet etc upon firing, and may require opening up by a qualified gunsmith. By the time it was done, for me, after the gunsmithing, I could seat a .003 over groove diameter bullet by hand in a fired case without sizing with a resistance fit. Once the brass was fire formed, it was a simple matter of decapping at the range and dropping in a Tide bottle filled with soapy water, scrubbing with brush inside and out upon arriving at home, tumbling to finish cleaning up the empties, recapping, charging with powder, using a tamp rod on a handd press to compress the powder slightly, insert wad, grease, fiber wad, and thumbing bullet into case.

If you are using 20 to 1 alloy, I used to seat the bullet, a Postell IIRC, so that the first driving band was fully engraved into the rifling, which is pretty easy as the Sharps has that sort of ramp built into the breech block which forces the cartridge into the chamber. And shoot. If you load this way, it is quite probable that an attempt to remove the cartridge from the chamber may result in quite a mess as the bullet will tend to remain stuck in the rifling after you remove the remainder of the case.

Some guys I used to watch shoot the BPCR Scheutzen matches would hand seat the bullets into the rifling with a special tool that hooked the inside of the receiver, and press the bullets all the way into the leade/rifling. Then place a cartridge charged with powder and a wad into the chamber to fire the bullet. They got some really good accuracy from these techniques.

As I said earlier, I don't recognize your cartridges in your photos, so I don't know if anything I offered was helpful or not. I hope so.
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Old October 21, 2012, 11:57 PM   #3
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Join Date: October 12, 2012
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 338
Brass loads

This particular model can be bulk loaded, by placing the bullet in the chamber and lightly seating into the grooves. Fill breech with 80 gr fffg, close, cap and fire.
Or loaded with a bullet and a paper / linen cartridge with 80 grains.
load a brass cartridge with 50 - 52 grains of fffg, per the manual seat a bullet to the case,
much like a new modern smokeless.
Load in the chamber cap and fire.
But yes you got the right idea.
I notice I had a couple typo's in original post. All ref to BP should of been FFFg
Thanks for your info, but I've been shooting BP for 30 yrs. so do understand the measuring. I was just stating what I observed in this new gun. But refresher info is always a good thing.
Thanks for your info on how you load your cartridges.
My cartridges are made by Pedersoli to go with this sharps. (crappy cell phone picture)
If you use recommended type and amount of powder, no room for a wad. Just powder and seat the bullet.
But my basic question is.
How much powder are others loading into their brass cartridges and
How are others seating the bullet into the case.
I'm just curious what others are doing.

We were able to test fire today. Was expecting more of a kick.
In another thread, I used a very minute amount of antisieze on the gas check sleeve and lubriplate 105 on the sides of the block and hinge pin.
After 6 shots today it was just getting sticky. During cleaning I was still able to move the gas check sleeve by hand.
I tried to load a brass cartridge after the 3rd paper cartridge, but no go. After cleaning it, it slid right in.
So will have to fire those first.
We only fired at 20 yds today, just to make sure we were on paper. Next session will be 50 yd. Then have to borrow a friends range to do the 100yd. I can only do 75 safely at my temporary setup.
My target back stop is 2 bales of hay left to right, double deep or about 3 ft deep.
Then anext layer up is 4 bales across set lengthwise front to back, so 3ft deep and 5 ft l to r. then two more on top set length wise L to r.
My dirt berm behind the straw is 4 ft high with a good sized hill abot 100 yds behind it.
I do want to add more dirt to the berm. My target is 12" square . I mounted it to cardboard.
Set bottom of it on ground . So bullet strikes that made it throuhh the bales would impact in the virgin dirt of the trench back wall. behind the bales, I placed 3/4 inch wafer board.
Only a few of the hotter .44 cal slugs penetrated the board into the dirt. The hay stopped the lighter loads.
All the sharps bullets penetrated the wood into the dirt. However they were tumbling when they hit the board, because of the straw.
It was fun shooting. Can't wait till we get out to the 100yd range. To shoot farther i will need a scope for these old eyes and will have to head up into the mountains.
I'm curious about 600yd. just to see. But heck I would need to drive to the target and back!
Again thanks for your reply.
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