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Thread: Sharps slant breech accruracy test article

  1. #1
    Steve Weems is offline
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    Sharps slant breech accruracy test article

    Being interested in how well the Sharps slant breech carbines worked I took advantage of an opportunity to purchase a couple Black Powder Cartridge magazines with articles on them. The Fall 2019 issue had an accuracy test article by William Mapoles. He used a Model 1852 in excellent mechanical condition which he felt was equivalent to one that would have been used in the 1850?s. Bottom line he found it to be an effective and safe carbine while recognizing that the Conant gas seal plate of the Model 1859 was superior.

    in addition to accruracy he addressed the usual issues of gas leakage and jamming of the breech block. I also felt he must have had a lot of fun at the range trying out different powders , bullets and lubes. In short I enjoyed the article and felt he answered a lot of my questions on these historic arms.

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    mgmradio is offline
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    I have been helping Bill with his series of articles. We shoot together at least twice a month. The fall issue of BPC has an accuracy test of the 59 model riffle using linen cartridges I made for him.
    There are a number of other articles in the works for different breach loaders.

  3. #3
    Steve Weems is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgmradio View Post
    I have been helping Bill with his series of articles. We shoot together at least twice a month. The fall issue of BPC has an accuracy test of the 59 model riffle using linen cartridges I made for him.
    There are a number of other articles in the works for different breach loaders.
    Tonight I read his excellent article where he shoots the Model 1853 Sharps and enjoyed it as much as the first. I will be looking forward to the next one on the model 1859. I have been buying the back issues so I think a subscription would be cheaper!!

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    Dave Fox is offline
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    Slant breech carbine.

    My latest 'last firearm' happens to be a just-acquired (this week!) M.1853 slant breech .52 caliber military Sharps carbine. Other than external wear, the action is tight as General Sherman's smile and the bore about perfect. Zero pitting anywhere. I made-up period correct cartridges using a Rapine .544 ringtail mould, nitrated office rag paper, SPG lube, 10 grains equivalent Cream-of-Wheat filler and about 50 grains of Swiss FFg. Per Charlie Hahn's always good advice, I sprayed the bearing surfaces of the breechblock with Canola oil. At the 50 yard range I found the knife-edge of the block cut the base of the cartridges cleanly. The trigger pull on this piece, likely not fired in 155+ years, is the best of any 19th Century military rifle I own, breaking without creep at about 6 pounds. The only let down was, of course, the sights. The rear rear notch is the merest, almost invisible nick, and the fore sight way, way too short. I fired an initial three shot group and found it printed fine for deflection but a full 18" high. I then stapled the illustrated bullseye centered over that initial group, leaving my aiming point as-is. This piece exceeded my expectations. As you can see, initial accuracy, limited by the sorry sights and sorrier shooter, is satisfying. The action worked as easily after the 25th round as after the first (thanks, Charlie). Most amazing, despite the solid breechblock and bad reputation, IT LEAKED ALMOST NO GAS. I placed a sheet of paper on the shooting bench beneath the action and it remained pristine. I'm convinced: a Free Soil Kansan who received one of these Beecher's Bibles was exceedingly well armed...as long as he aimed at his opponent's crotch.
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    Dave Fox is offline
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    Slant breech

    Mr. Weems: presuming Mr. Mapoles was using a military slant breech for his testing, would you be good enough to share with me his most accurate load(s)?

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    Looks like a good group!

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon
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    mgmradio is offline
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    Dave Fox, For all of Bills tests he was using full original military loads of either Goex FFG or Swiss 1 1/2 and shoots for group size , not bulls eyes. He doesn?t modify his sights.

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    Dave Fox is offline
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    slant breech

    Nor do I modify sights on collectable arms. I vastly admire a minimal group size, but I also want to ring that gong. This particular Sharps appears to have the point-blank, place where the bullet and the sight picture intersect, at about 125 yards with my sissy load. And I've sent for the back number of the magazine wherein Mr. Mapoles's article appears.

  9. #9
    mgmradio is offline
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    Dave,
    We shoot our Civil War guns every 4th Saturday at our local range. We have targets and steel out to 500m. Your right about the sighting on most of the military arms being around 125-150 yard zero. Nothing like hitting an 11? steel at 200 yards. My Maynard is deadly on the pigs at 340 yards.

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    Dave Fox is offline
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    Arizona...

    I see you reside in Arizona. Last year, my daughter and granddaughter sitting with my wife, I finally had opportunity to spend a couple weeks coursing through the great American Southwest, first time ever. Loved San Antonio's River Walk, Roy Bean's saloon / court room, Tombstone, the lights of Las Vegas (with a de rigueur stop at the Pawn Stars' disappointing pawn shop), Grand Canyon, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, stopping at the Glorieta Pass Battlefield. Believe I was most impressed with the desert and its Saguaro Cacti and Joshua Trees. Always thought it would be a hoot to find an old car body, pace off a half mile or so, and, with a spotter, blaze away. I've two buddies, a lapsed Marine and retired highway patrolman, who shoot all manner of original black powder iron at our 50 to 300 yard range. I either reload to shoot or shoot to reload. In my dotage, exercising antique firearms is my favorite pastime. Praise the Good Lord I'm yet able.
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