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Thread: Sharps Problems

  1. #1
    ck76239 is offline
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    Sharps Problems

    Hi folks!
    I shoot a Pietta Smith regularly, but my son will be 14 next summer, and wants to get into skirmishing with me! So I thought we might start practicing carbine together (we already shoot musket together).
    I bought a Pedersoli Sharps Carbine from Dixie. I figured I would let him shoot whichever he liked better, and I'll shoot the other. The Sharps arrived with a fair amount of rust inhibiting oil on it, so I took it all apart and cleaned and dried it really well.

    I shot it for the first time this weekend at my local range, and discovered I'm having significant ignition problems. At best it hang-fires, but several shots took 2-3 caps to set the charge off, and when it did go off, it hang fired again.

    I thought maybe my paper cartridge making technique was not right, so I tried seating bullets and using loose powder, but still having the same ignition issues.

    I'm using Schutzen caps, but dug out the few RWS I had left, no change, still hangfires and misfires with RWS. I had kinda thought if it was the caps, wouldn't I have hang fires with my Smith...

    What should I look at next? Any suggestions are appreciated!

    Thanks!
    Chris

  2. #2
    Don Dixon is offline
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    Ignition with the Sharps rifles and carbines is somewhat problematic. Buy Ampco nipples. Bore the hole out with a .059 drill bit. Use RWS caps. Clean the entire ignition channel carefully every time you shoot the gun. It should work for you then. The Sharps is very hard on the holes in nipples, in that the cap and the powder charge burn out/enlarge the hole fairly quickly. As the hole gets larger, accuracy begins to deteriorate. Dependent upon how much you shoot, you will probably have to replace the nipple at the end of every shooting season.

    Regards,
    Don Dixon
    2881V

  3. #3
    Yakiman is offline
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    Name:  20190626_185808.jpg
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Size:  279.9 KBMy Pedersoli 1859 Sharps carbine was doing the same thing. Schuetzen caps and it would go off maybe once in five tries. I blamed it on the caps and griped so much to Graf (who I ordered them from) that they had the Schuetzen folks contact me and I got a refund. Subsequently found this to be the problem.Name:  20190626_190118.jpg
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Size:  275.7 KB

    The nipple on the left is the one that came in the rifle, the one on the right is one I ordered from TOW. Changed nipples and using the same components I have no misfires -

  4. #4
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    I have a fairly new Pedersoli Sharps. It is probably 2-3 years old. It has the factory nipple on it, though Larry Flees turned it down very slightly so that it did not rub on the frame when the breech block drops into it.

    It does not like the new Shuetzen caps. I believe the Sheutzen caps are very slightly smaller than the RWS caps, and as a result they do not seat firmly on the nipple. So, when the hammer drops on them, the cap does not go off at all. Usually on the second hammer strike it the cap will ignite. I believe this is because the first hammer strike has fully seated the cap, allowing the second strike to set it off.

    So, I only use RWS Dynamite Nobel caps with my Sharps. This problem can probably be remedied by using a nipple very slightly smaller in diameter. This could probably be achieved by chucking the nipple in a drill press and dressing the cone with a fine file very carefully.

    The second issue with the Sharps is that they, by nature, have a long fire channel that makes 2 turns before exiting into the chamber. Due to the way the stock pieces in the fire channel fit together (clean-out screw, fire cone), there are some nooks and crannies in the fire channel where the cap gasses can get lost and spent in before they make it out the fire cone into the chamber. Generally after several shots these get filled with fouling and ignition becomes more reliable. Larry Flees can re-work the fire channel with custom-fitted clean-out screws and fire cones that reduces the nooks and crannies and greatly increases the reliability of ignition on a clean gun.

    Also, per Larry's instructions, when I clean, I do not disassemble the block (clean out screw, fire cone, nipple). I simply blast them clean with hot water and then blast the channel clear with compressed air. This way any fouling that does accumulate in any fine nooks and crannies will presumably be permanently left in place.

    The biggest problem you will probably discover with the Sharps is the gas plate leaks gas like crazy. My Pedersoli had an attempt at the Sam Dobbins O-Ring job from the factory, but it was useless. My Sharps block would seize up after about 10 shots because of fouling. Pedersoli makes the chamber a "sliding sleeve" which I do not believe is historically correct. I suspect the sleeve was press-fit into place, but could be moved with an armorers tool to set eliminate any clearance between the end of the chamber sleeve and the gas check plate, so as to minimize gas leakage. Instead in the Pedersoli the sleeve, when the gun is clean, easily slides back and forth in the Chamber.

    Larry Flees does a great breech job on the Sharps. He replaces the floating chamber sleeve with a pressed-in sleeve that is then precision fit to the Ampco bronze gas check plate he installs. His plate is also backed up with an o-ring, though much smaller in thickness than what Pedersoli attempted. Larry's modification is outstanding. I have fired the gun with 89 consecutive shots with no change in the action.

    Steve

  5. #5
    Yakiman is offline
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    "believe the Sheutzen caps are very slightly smaller than the RWS caps, and as a result they do not seat firmly on the nipple"

    That is the issue. If you look at my first picture you can see the nipple that came on the gun is a tapered cone, the cap won't seat all the way down. TOW actually discusses this on their catalog page. I got the nipple they recommended and you can certainly see the difference. The Scheutzen cap fits firmly all the way down. No more misfires.

  6. #6
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    Yakiman,

    What is the part number of the TOW nipple you bought? MMI-I ?

    https://www.trackofthewolf.com/List/Item.aspx/64/1

    Steve

  7. #7
    Yakiman is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maillemaker View Post
    Yakiman,

    What is the part number of the TOW nipple you bought? MMI-I ?

    https://www.trackofthewolf.com/List/Item.aspx/64/1

    Steve
    I think the TOW catalog is mistaken on size. The DGW catalog says the Pedersoli 1859 takes 5/16x24 musket nipple. That is part number MMS-1 at TOW and is what I have in mine. Wouldn't be the first time TOW made a mistake in descriptions.

  8. #8
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    Well, I ordered one of each to be safe. The other one should fit in my Armisport 1842, so it says.

    Steve

  9. #9
    PoorJack is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yakiman View Post
    "believe the Sheutzen caps are very slightly smaller than the RWS caps, and as a result they do not seat firmly on the nipple"

    That is the issue. If you look at my first picture you can see the nipple that came on the gun is a tapered cone, the cap won't seat all the way down. TOW actually discusses this on their catalog page. I got the nipple they recommended and you can certainly see the difference. The Scheutzen cap fits firmly all the way down. No more misfires.
    That would explain why RWS works every time on my Sharps but Schutzen, not so much. I'll take a close look at the cone and probably replace it so I'm not stuck with one type of caps for the Sharps.
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition"
    Rudyard Kipling

  10. #10
    John Holland is online now Moderator
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    Poor Jack - Another problem with the Schutzen caps is that they are made of Steel. They are very hard and stiff and are not able to be pushed down enough for a proper seat on many nipples. I have seen some people having to snap them 2x before they go off. The first snap seats the cap fully on the nipple and the second snap of the hammer sets it off. Because of the hardness of the steel caps they are also prone to fragmenting and throwing one or more wings off, sometimes hitting the shooter on either side of you or even yourself. Just my experience, and why I quit using them.

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