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Thread: .50-90

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    .50-90

    Hi. I am new to the forum. Thanks for having me. I am thinking of buying a High Wall in .50-90.

    I currently reload for my Wesson and Harrington 1871 Buffalo Special .45-70.
    My question is, can you/does anyone load smokeless rounds for this caliber, .50-90?

    I have never loaded BPRC before and if I don't have to, I won't, no disrespect intended.

    Thanks for your retorts.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master swamp's Avatar
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    I load smokeless for my 50-140. The Accurate loading manual lists loads for the 50-90.

    swamp
    There is no problem so great, that it cannot be solved by the proper application of high explosives.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I would not load smokeless in either the 50/90 or the 50/140, these cases are way to big and over half the case would be empty. I have used the 50/90 Sharps alot, for both hunting and target work, and it gets a full case of Swiss 1 1/2fg only.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master corbinace's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum Warden.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    I have a Winchester 1885 in 50-90 Sharbs by Miroku in Japan. It is a BPCR rifle and only blackpowder is to be used in it. I load a 695 Gr. boolit over a felt wad and up to 102 gr of Swiss 1 1/2 powder. I am still developing a better loading as the recoil is not something to be taken lightly. I expect a lighter boolit would be easier on the shoulder. I lube the cases by the dip method whereby unlubed boolits are set up standing in a silicone tray and hot lube is poured into the pan to such a level that the lube groove is covered. Then the pan w/boolits is allowed to cool. Then the boolits are removed carefully from the pan. It is messy but effective and cheap.

    It is a hoot to shoot at a steel target way out there and then when the slow boolit (1250 FPS) finally slams into the steel you get to hear the C L A N G! !
    some seconds after your shot but before the smoke clears. It is best to shoot into a cross wind as this will blow away the smoke fast. A dead calm day is not very good as you will be surrounded by clouds of white and smelly smoke.

    You will come home stinking and your wife/girlfriend/significant other might demand you get undressed in the garage and immediately shower and shampoo cuz you are not coming into this house/apartment/tent/shack/room to stink up the joint and what is that awful smell?

    Blackpowder shooting is another world and it is addictive.
    Pax Nobiscum Dan (Crash) Corrigan

    Currently casting, reloading and shooting: 223 Rem, 6.5x55 Sweede, 30 Carbine, 30-06, 30-30 WCF, 7.62x39, 327 Fed Mag, 303 Brit., 32WS, 7.92x57, 38 Spcl, 357 Mag, ,380 ACP. 9x19, 38-55 Win, 41 Mag, 44 Spcl., 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 45 ACP, 454 Casull, 457 RB for ROA and 50-90 Sharps.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Accurate claims their 5744 can be used in the .50-90, though I didn't find data for it on their website. You might start your quest their, as it is a good powder for that general sort of large-volume, low-pressure kind of project.

    Hodgdon Triple 7 is another answer. As a black powder substitute, it's intended to behave a lot like the real thing, but it is MUCH better behaved in terms of clean up. Rubbing alcohol on the brush works well and quickly. Use that in place of the Hoppe's or Shooter's Choice you'd use for smokeless, patch it dry, and finish up with a film of something rust-preventive.

    A .50-90 would be a lot of fun. I have found milk jug busting with the .50-70 to be very grin-inducing. Due to the low velocity, you can usually recover from recoil in time to watch the very considerable impact. I usually find myself inserting the following commentary: BOOOM! "Waaait for it. . ." SPLAT!
    WWJMBD?

    Buried in molds until covered with mold.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master OlDeuce's Avatar
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    You might see if you can find a load using WW748........It's a full case smokeless powder with low pressure !! The more I use it the Better I like it! a bit durty

    Ol Deuce
    Do the Best with What you have !

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    Why in the world do folks insist upon getting these great old boomers and then trying to make them work with smokeless when it is so easily done with black powder. Difficult cleanup of black is a pure myth. A great big cartridge case with just a dab of smokeless is an invitation to a disaster party and the emergency room. I have been shooting BPCR matches for several years and have have been on hand when two rifles gave up with supposed safe smokeless loads. I have never seen or heard of one letting go with black powder.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Don't shy away from using some smokeless powders in BPC rifles as long as you follow the rules.
    I use H4198 and IMR4198 in a number of British black powder cartridge rifles but always use a filler in the case.
    Foam backer rod works beautifully.
    Consider, if so many old 500bpe rifles (many with Damascus barrels) are now being fed successfully with smokeless and a proper filler, how could a 50/90 be so challenging?
    Sherman Bell has extensively tested a number of smokeless powders and many different types of filler as well as original black powder loads and has found that black actually generates higher pressures and more abrupt pressure curves than some smokeless loads at the same velocities.
    All of his tests have been published in the Double Gun and Single Shot Journal.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Here is data from the Accurate 1999 load data mailer I received. It has 5744 data for the 50-90-2.5"

    Gun C Sharps
    Barrel 30"
    Primer Fed 215
    Case Eldorado
    MAXIMUM LOADS
    Bullet Powder Grains Velocity
    PEN365-FN 5744 43.0 1795
    LY 440-SP 5744 38.0 1557
    RCBS 550 5744 35.0 1411

    Maybe this helps
    Chill Wills

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Most nay sayers have never tried to load smokeless in a 50-90 or much of anything else. If it was left up to them they would never shoot smokeless in a 45-70 either. I guess they still ride a mule to the range wearing buck skin pants. The same guys wear prescription glasses and false teeth but they cannot seem to wean themselves from black powder as if they are afraid of smokeless.
    Proper loads of 5744 or SR4759 are great fun to shoot. Check any Lyman cast bullet handbook for smokeless loads.
    EDG

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    I don't think making personal disparaging remarks helps bridge the powder gap
    Chill Wills

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    load 'n' shoot whatever ya like, just don't preach yer personal powder choices tastes on anyone else, that'd not be nice, keep it to yerself please.

    aa5744 is arguably the best powder for 19th century cartridges, small or large. it does not require fillers - in fact, accurate frowns on filler use. ditto's for any wads (quigley match enforced). i used it a LOT for .45-70 greasers. anyhoo, for precise recommended load data, call/email accurate.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    . There are Plenty of Good smokeless Out there with a little research. I stopped Using Black Years ago. All my Older rifles I switched.
    The Holy Black Users will always Give you the doom and gloom. and the end is Near Outlook. My Motto If they would have Invented smokeless earlier They would have used it.
    NRA Endowment Member
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    Conceado Nulli

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by salpal48 View Post
    . There are Plenty of Good smokeless Out there with a little research. I stopped Using Black Years ago. All my Older rifles I switched.
    The Holy Black Users will always Give you the doom and gloom. and the end is Near Outlook. My Motto If they would have Invented smokeless earlier They would have used it.
    yes sir, thats the way i look at it.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I recently read about using the 50/90 Sharps in very strong guns and using full house smokeless loads as a kinda Afrikaan safari rifle right up there with the modern .500s and .505s.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master



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    Greetings
    We shoot 5744 in our repro 50-95 that duplicates our 3F load in the same cartridge / cast combination.
    Before we tried I called Accurate explained what I wanted to do and the very helpful tech man ran his computer and gave me where to start with 5744 and about where it would equal out at 1465 FPS (crono) with our cast 350 grainer. He was not far off in the computer info.
    But I will write we have never yet found a smokeless load that can beat the accuracy of that 3F load in that rifle. Not far off but will not beat 3F.
    Mike in Peru
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Home built Matchlock similar to what an early 1600 Colonial soldier might have.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master OlDeuce's Avatar
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    Smokeless works well if you understand what can happen to a Black Powder action!! I watch the primer ! and how the action reacts to each discharge .
    And when I did the CRONO I was less than 100fps faster than the factory Black Powder charge!! I never want to lose one of my Old Winchester to an
    over-charge of Smokeless!!!!

    Ol Deuce
    Do the Best with What you have !

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I don't have any smokeless loads for the 50-90 because I've never owned one. I do have an E.M. Reilly in 500 BPE with Henry rifling and I've used a "Nitro for Black" load in it since I bought it 20+ years ago. I also FINALLY worked up an accurate BP load for the rifle. It took me forever and I will always blame that on the Henry rifling and my reluctance to begin paper patching the bullet. Once I started patching the bullet things came around nicely. I say that because I believe some of what a fella shoots in the rifle depends on....what shoots in the rifle! That smokeless can be safely used in big ol' BP cartridges is a fact. The British were doing it as soon as smokeless hit the ground with their "Nitro for Black" rounds. Surely we've learned a little more since then. It should go without saying that if it isn't done correctly something bad is going to happen.

    I do prefer BP in cartridges and rifles that were originally so loaded and concur that any difficulty of cleaning a cartridge rifle after shooting BP is a myth. Mine usually take no more than a half dozen patches and their slick as a whistle. While I prefer BP I won't hesitate to work up a smokeless load if I believe it necessary....and I'm a fairly hide bound traditionalist.
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

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  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    fouling is even easier to control and cleanup with ppb's.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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