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Thread: Sharps Rifle Model 1859

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Sharps Rifle Model 1859

    I bought a Pedersoli Sharps Carbine Model 1859 about 15 years ago. Someone was kind enough to do the O ring modification for me. I can shoot it through team competition - no problem. Around 30 rounds.

    In 2017 I bought a Pedersoli Sharps Rifle Model 1859 and it has their O ring modification. It's a great shooter and does fine for the first 5-6 shots. Then fouling builds up between the faceplate and gun. I have replaced o rings. I cut some washers from steel, they were a bit too thick. So I cut some aluminum washers, put them in the breech block then the o ring. The aluminum washers with the o ring help the faceplate to put more pressure on the firing chamber. I can shoot 8-9 shots fine. Number 10 and following are real tough to lower the lever.

    Any ideas or suggestions that would help me shoot more than 10 rounds would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    bobanderson is offline
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    1st Michigan Infantry
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    Send your gun to Larry Flees, 2261 N. Jacobson Rd, Suttons Bay, MI 49682.

    Contact him at 231-342-0821 or at ljflees@hotmail.com.

    He will install a new ampco bronze gas check, o ring seal and chamber sleeve in the pattern championed by Sam Dobbin, late of the 1st Michigan.

    It will allow you to shoot long strings without fouling out.

    There are two common methods offered to skirmishers. This, in my opinion, is the better fix.
    Bob Anderson
    Ordnance Sergeant
    Company C, 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry
    Small Arms Committee

    "I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a hand on.
    I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them."
    - John Wayne in "The Shootist", 1976

  3. #3
    gmkmd's Avatar
    gmkmd is offline
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    What is the difference between the job that Larry Flees does vs what Charlie Hahn does?
    Glenn M. Kaye
    73rd New York Volunteer Infantry

  4. #4
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    high temp ??

    Are you using a high temperature o ring??? just a thought
    N-SSA Member since 1974

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I also got a Pedersoli 1859 a couple of years ago. Like yours, it had their attempt at the Sam Dobbins O-Ring Modification. Like yours, it did not work. Part of the problem, I believe, is that Pedersoli, on at least some of their Sharps, installs a "floating sleeve". They are/were under the impression that the sleeve was supposed to float freely as part of the gas seal mechanism. It does not. In period, a special "buching tool" had to be used to force the sleeve in or out, and by so doing a competent armourer could set the proper clearance between the chamber face and the gas check plate, thus minimizing gas leakage. When the sleeve is free to float, it doesn't seal at all, as you can see.

    Like yours, mine was good for about 10 shots and would then lock up due to fouling.

    I had Larry Flees to his work on mine. He removes the free-floating chamber sleeve and installs a pressed-in fixed one that is machined to match the Ampco bronze gas check plate. His gas check plate is also backed by an o-ring, though a much thinner one.

    After having Larry's work done, I put 89 consecutive shots through it without cleaning and no difference in the operation of the action. In competition, I swab the bore and that is it. It's good for the whole weekend of skirmishing.

    I believe one difference between Larry's work and Charlie's work is Charlie welds the gas check plate to the breech block. Larry's gas check plate is a separate piece. I liked the separate piece approach so that when the gas check plate wears out, it can be easily replaced. I believe Charlie uses an o-ring in front of the chamber sleeve to keep it pressed against the gas check plate, while Larry uses an o-ring behind the gas check plate to keep it pressed against the fixed chamber sleeve.

    You can see my review of Larry's work here:
    https://www.n-ssa.net/vbforum/showth...Carbine-rework

    I also had Larry rework the fire channel hardware in the Sharps breech block. This makes ignition much more reliable and I recommend having that done at the same time if you are going to send it in.

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon
    Commander
    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
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    NRA Certified Muzzleloading Instructor

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Thanks for all the comments.

    Steve, I'm almost tempted to send my Sharps to Larry.

    In the evenings I was able to go to some hardware stores and look for the right washer that would fit in the breech block. The center hole had to be big enough for the brass touch hole. Most washers were too thick so I could not put the washer and the o-ring in the block then into the rifle. I told my wife what I was trying to do and she said, "Why don't you go to WalMart and look?" I told her I didn't think WalMart had what I needed.

    Last night she was shopping in WalMart, found some washers, then brought them home. I gave it a test. Put the washer and o-ring in the breech block, then slid it into the rifle. It fit and is snug. Just goes to show what I know!

    So, this Monday I'll take a trip to the range and give it a test.

    The washers are Bulldog Hardware WA-562 flat washers 3/8 inch. The o-ring is not the one Pedersoli manufactures. These are made by Danco. #96744

    Either Monday evening or Tuesday, I'll post and report how it went. If this doesn't work, I'll try one more thing.

  7. #7
    Charlie Hahn is offline
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    You can see the design I do on my web site, hahnmachineworks.com or email me at etb9601@gmail.com and I will send the information. I am available for questions at 410-627-4726 as well.

    I will be at the Fort this weekend to see if my cabin and Sutler Booth is still there;o)

    Charlie Hahn

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    I had larry do my Garrett Sharps and it has gone from a 5 shot gun to a shoot all day gun. The only drawback I can see with any of these conversions it that the breech will not longer "scissor" off the tail of an authentic folded tail cartridge. I'm very pleased with Larry's work.
    Mark Hubbs,

    Eras Gone Bullet Molds www.erasgonebullets.com

    Visit my history/archaeology blog at: www.erasgone.blogspot.com

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