Author Topic: Loose powder in an 1859 Sharps  (Read 4472 times)

Offline Tangle Eye

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Loose powder in an 1859 Sharps
« on: April 01, 2005, 01:11:16 PM »
I've had a couple of apparently very knowledgeable shooters tell me that in the 1859 Sharps you don't have to be concerned about air space in the chamber. That is, just put whatever powder charge in there you want to shoot behind a seated bullet and shoot.  This sounds great but does contradict what I've always heard with muzzleloaders and black powder cartridge guns (boths of which I shoot).  I sure don't want to damage the gun or even more importantly ME.  As I think about it, there will always be some air space in this chamber just because of the imperfect fit of a paper cartridge and the way the tail gets cut off.

So - how about you other 1859 shooters and knowledgeable persons:  Is this permissable?

It sure would make making paper cartridges a lot simpler not having to mess with filler.
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Offline Steel Horse Bailey

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Re: Loose powder in an 1859 Sharps
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2005, 02:55:55 PM »
Howdy! 

By no stretch of the imagination am I an expert.  I've never even seen a real (or repro) 1859 Sharps.  Isn't that one of the guns that uses a paper cartridge that when the breech rises, it cuts the paper exposing the powder to the cap hole?

Well, let's look at this logically.  I'm like you, Tangle Eye, I've always heard that airspace in a BP chamber is a recipe for disaster.  So, I'd think that the paper "cartridge" holds the BP well enough to serve as a sort of chamber (that is full) even tho' there may be other parts of the chamber that DO have empty space.  This, it seems to me, would be very different than actually having loose powder in the chamber that is only partially full.  Now, a FULL chamber seems like any other BP fired armament, tho' I'm not sure how it would be compressed, which is ALSO what I've heard needs to be done for the optimum BP performance.

I wouldn't want to try loose powder (at least not a full chamber) in MY 1859 - if I had one, that is.
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Offline Grapeshot

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Re: Loose powder in an 1859 Sharps
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2005, 08:48:34 AM »
I have a Shiloh Sharps (Farmingdale, NY model) M1863 that I used to shoot with N/SSA.  There is an air gap to the rear once the block is slid up into battery.  I've always used a paper cartridge that had an end that was flat, with a piece of eye glass cleaning tissue making up the end of the cartridge so the flame of the cap punched through it igniting the main charge.

Once, when I was out of papper cartridges, I dropped a bullet into the chamber, used a short dowel rod to push it into the rifling, and poured the chamber full of Goex 3Fg.  I then capped and fired as usual.  The recoil was a bit more than with the cartridge and 2Fg, but it works.

Don't know much about the Italian Sharps, but my Shiloh had a plate fitted on the front of the breech block that was moved forward to seal the breech when the carbine was fired. 
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Offline Bushwack Bill

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Re: Loose powder in an 1859 Sharps
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2005, 01:29:48 PM »
I tried that with 4Fg.  Kicked like a mule.
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