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Thread: Question for the Sharps shooters

  1. #11
    Jim_Burgess_2078V is offline
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    Shiloh Sharps Reliability

    I purchased my Shiloh Sharps carbine in 1978. About 1981 Shiloh had to replace the entire breechblock as a hole developed between the back of the breechblock chamber and the cut for the toggle link. I have not had or needed any alterations to the breechblock over the last 38 years. I routinely brush the bore between relays but rarely does the breechblock bind and need to be removed to clean the face of the gas check plate during a match. I usually shoot individuals and the team match without ever disassembling the carbine. A good grease on the breechblock helps. If fouling does build up on the gas check plate and things start to bind, a drop of Hoppe's #9 Plus often helps loosen things again. My gas check plate shows a little gas cutting on the face but I'm not getting any leakage (yet). I've had to replace a broken lever spring a couple of times over the years but the carbine still shoots better than I can hold it.

    Jim Burgess, 15th Conn. Vol. Inf.

  2. #12
    Don Dixon is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Wimbish, 10395 View Post
    Your Sharps must have been fashioned by the Lady of the Lake, who also made the sword Excaliber for King Arthur.
    My experience with my Shiloh Sharps Model 1859 rifle has been similar to Jim Burgess' with his carbine. I never had any of the "improvements" made to it, and never had any problems opening the breech no matter how many rounds I shot through it. But, Shiloh made an extremely good product, and I am anal about maintenance. I received my Distinguished Breech Loader badge with the rifle, and when last I looked at the History Center the 99 with a bunch of X's that I shot at 50 yards with the rifle still ranked well up there.

    Regards,
    Don Dixon
    2881V

  3. #13
    mikea is offline
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    I have a Shiloh Sharps carbine (I'm 2nd owner) and have the same experience as Jim Burgess and Don Dixon. I use white lithium grease on the breech block and have never had any problem shooting individuals and a team event in the same day (100 or so rounds only cleaning the bore with wet and a dry patch between relays. I only pull the breech to clean and re grease it at the end of the day.
    Too bad Shiloh doesn't make percussion Sharps anymore. This means you have to get a used one. If it's in good condition you don't need to worry about modifications, O rings, etc.

  4. #14
    Jim Wimbish, 10395's Avatar
    Jim Wimbish, 10395 is offline
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    I think that Shiloh priced themselves out of the market on the percussion carbines. The Pedersoli Sharps carbine is a well made gun with an excellent hard steel barrel. Pedersoli has experimented with a variety of breech block configurations, attempting to improve the gas seal, including an o-ring in the breech block in one variation. I have owned three Sharps with the after market o-ring modifications and all three had outstanding gas seals, functioned well, and did not require maintenance during matches. I personally think that the o-ring modification provides a superior breech seal to the original floating plate design since there is a tighter fit between the block face and the chamber sleeve and it is less subject to fouling. Without the floating face plate, the block is easy to clean, the chamber sleeve comes out easily, and the O-rings can be replaced as needed. An off the shelf high pressure grease is used to lube the o-ring, sleeve, and breech face. I have been monitoring changes to the face of my current breech block in my latest Pedersoli Sharps and I cannot see any signs of gas etching and wear. The gas seal is impressive and the grease works extremely well. The o-ring mod is not expensive and works well, making the Italian made Sharps carbines into first rate skirmish guns. So even with Shiloh out of the percussion Sharps market, it is possible to buy an Italian Sharps carbine replica and mod it at a reasonable cost to use in skirmishing.
    Jim Wimbish

    Member of NSSA since 2000



  5. #15
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    I think that Shiloh priced themselves out of the market on the percussion carbines. The Pedersoli Sharps carbine is a well made gun with an excellent hard steel barrel. Pedersoli has experimented with a variety of breech block configurations, attempting to improve the gas seal, including an o-ring in the breech block in one variation.
    I traded a nearly-new Pedersoli P53 for a nearly-new Pedersoli 1859 Sharps Carbine back in 2016.

    It came from the factory with their attempt at the Sam Dobbins o-ring modification.

    The gun would only fire about 10 shots before the action became locked up due to fouling.

    I sent it to Larry Flees, who does his own version of the o-ring modification, along with removing the so-called sliding chamber sleeve and pressing in an immobile one, and replacing the stock gas check plate with one from Ampco bronze.

    The gun now operates essentially indefinitely. I tested it with 89 consecutive shots without cleaning and there was no change in the action operation.

    You can see my review here:

    https://www.n-ssa.net/vbforum/showth...y+flees+review

    I've shot the gun for 3 years now in competition and other than replacing o-rings from time to time the action on the gun is flawless. I highly recommend Larry's work on a Sharps.

    Steve

    P.S. In my reading about the Sharps, my understanding these days is the original Sharps had a moveable chamber sleeve, but this does not mean that it was a loose fit and able to slide under normal operation, as the Pedersoli gun was. I believe it was movable - by use of a special armourer's tool - to set the gap between the sleeve and the gas check face of the breech block. But it did not slide around during normal operation.

  6. #16
    Jim Wimbish, 10395's Avatar
    Jim Wimbish, 10395 is offline
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    Steve,

    You are correct. On the original Sharps, the chamber sleeve could only be adjusted by an armorer using a special tool to set the spacing between the block face and the chamber sleeve. I had a Pedersoli rifle many years ago that had a chamber sleeve that could be moved fairly easily. The face plate on this gun could not be moved at all, unlike the original. The Conant gas seal on the original Sharps was supposed to float to seal the breech using gas pressure when the gun was fired. The same system was used on artillery pieces and the problem with BP fouling persisted until the advent of smokeless powder. I had two Sharps that had the o-ring mod done by Otts Crowther and I currently have a Pedersoli with the o-ring mod done by Charlie Hahn. All three guns had excellent gas seals and were easy to clean and maintain. All of these guns lack the floating face plate on the block which is not needed with the o-ring mod.

    The original Conant gas seal has been greatly improved upon by the o-ring modification developed in the US. Why the Italians haven't figured out how to incorporate the same system in the guns they manufacture is a mystery to me.
    Jim Wimbish

    Member of NSSA since 2000



  7. #17
    Steve Weems is offline
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    Name correction

    Thanks to all for their contributions. Maillemaker And Jim had discussions on how the original Sharps had their sleeves originally installed compared to reproductions was very enlightening. Also enjoyed Maillemaker?s video on Larry flees Sharps mod. I have enjoyed this series of discussions that have pretty much answered my original curiosity. I have shot and competed with several different carbines but only only several shots out of a Sharps.
    Last edited by Steve Weems; 4 Days Ago at 08:42 PM. Reason: correct name on Sharps Mod video reference

  8. #18
    Steve Weems is offline
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    Garret chamber sleeve?

    Thinking about this discussion the question came to mind how did Garrett install his chamber sleeves??
    Somewhere along the way I have heard Garrett Sharps were very close to originals. Where the sleeves fixed or movable? After this discussion I would be impressed if they were as Sharps were originally built.

  9. #19
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    I had a Pedersoli rifle many years ago that had a chamber sleeve that could be moved fairly easily.
    Likewise, my Pedersoli Sharps, when clean, the chamber sleeve would easily slide back and forth using your fingers when you dropped the breech block. It was too big in diameter to slide out the back of the breech though, through the ammo loading groove.

    Steve

  10. #20
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    What he said

    Everything Steve said for his Pedersoli happened to me. I bought one new back in July, carried it to Briefield and tried to shoot it, gave up after 10 rounds, almost had to beat the lever open.

    When it was new (before I fired it) cleaned and couldn't get the sleeve to move. After I had shot it, while cleaning it the sleeve would move freely. fired again and sleeve wouldn't budge. 7 shots and it was time to break out the hammer again. Gave it to Larry Flees at the Nationals and had him do the works on it. Hope to have it home next week!
    "A ragged rebel flag flies high above it all
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    But they still smell the powder burnin' and they probably always will"

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