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Thread: My Birthday Present

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
    JWT's Avatar
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    My Birthday Present

    On Friday I hit the half century mark and my wife has agreed that it is time for me to order an 1874 Shiloh Sharps. I have been wanting one of these for 25 years. I wanted to seek the advise of experienced people in a few of the options.

    Intended use would be target shooting, aspiring to move into longer range competitions.

    I am planning on the pack case hardening, 34" octagon barrel, double trigger, with the Hartford collar and pewter forearm tip. For wood I'm thinking semi-fancy with the AA finish in a military configuration stock with the steel military buttplate and no cheekpiece. I was planning on the forearm bedding.

    Question #1: Caliber. I'm old enough to not want something so punishing that I won't want to shoot it at every range session, but I still love the idea of the cigar sized cartridges. Just going through the options, I am thinking 40-90 straight, 40-90 bottleneck, 45-110, 50-70, or 40-70. I don't want a 45-70 because I already shoot a couple of trapdoors. My concerns are brass availability, longer range accuracy, and loading difficulty. I would love to hear other shooters experiences with these rounds.


    Question #2: Sights. I am pretty set on an MVA #113 front sight. For the rear I was thinking either the #102 MVA medium range buffalo soule or the #103 MVA long range buffalo soule. https://shilohrifle.com/sights/

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy

    Knarley's Avatar
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    Happy Birthday!!!
    I'd opt for a "Shotgun" style butt on the gun. Really makes a difference in felt recoil. For the caliber, I will defer to those who are experts at such things.
    You have waited long enough, hope this gun turns out better than expected.
    A gun in hand is worth two cops on the phone.
    MOLON LABE

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    A fine rifle and should be a real performer. I agree with upgrading the wood at least one if not 2 steps up. Its nice to have a rifle your proud of. I use both the MVA long range soule rear ( the tallest one) and the spirit level globe and the windage adjustable globe. They are very good sights and work well for me. I would also have it drilled and tapped for a mva Malcomb style scope. not a lot when barrel is set up but a bigger job when rifle is done. One reason I recommend this alo is for load work up testing one of the old high power unertals can be used on the same blocks. If you think you want a little more than 45-70 then I would recommend 45-90 in 45 caliber since brass is available thru starline ( about a dollar a case) and it gives you some extra room. I have a CSharps Hepburn in 45-90 ( original thinking was I could shoot original 45-70 loads with the 2.4" case) a days sihilouettes match of 50 targets plus sighters is a long day behind it. What I would really recommend is 2 rifles one in 38-55 or 40-65 for normal matches and the second in 45-90 for long range when the extra is needed. A 48-55 with 1-12 barrel shooting 360 grn bullets will perform well out to 600yds or a little more. A 40-65 with 300-345 grns will do even better.

    You also may want to have a special length of pull on the stock, having it built it should fit you well. This helps a lot with recoil and position shooting. Also you may want the comb cut a little higher for long range shooting when the sight is cranked up.

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
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    If you are not going to carry it hunting, I would suggest getting the heavy barrel. It slows down the the recoil. .40-90 SS brass; getting quality brass might be impossible. .40-90 SBN= Starline .45-2.6, .45-110= Norma makes both 2.88 and 3.25" brass. .50-70= Starline. .40-70SS= Hornady .405 W available at Brownell's. For the .40-90 SS and the .40-70 SS get your brass before you order the rifle.

    .45-110 is the best on your list for long range. .50-70 is a lot of fun but not a great long range cartridge, but that is subjective. .40-70 SS is a long cartridge and has lower recoil than most of the others on your list. Keep the bullet short enough to maintain stability at long range and it should make you happy. I can get 80 grains into mine. Talk to Kirk about the chamber. I have my own reamer cut for PP and it uses the .405 brass from Hornady. I hope this is helpful and welcome to the madness.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    I bought the Shiloh Long Range Express in 45-110. No regrets. I shoot long range out in the desert with the Lyman 535 grain Postell. If you plan on competing , there are weight restrictions.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I can recommend the 40-70/405 route. PP chamber.
    But, get the 14 twist barrel.
    beltfed/arnie

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    All of those calibers are fine. The 3 1/4" .40-straight cases are tough to come by unless you spend some high cost getting them from RMC. I don't know if Bertram still make it or the .40 basic or not but I would check if you can get cases for it. The .40-70 Arnie mentions is good Hormady brass but the case neck walls are thick for Shiloh's tight chamber, my .40-70 Shiloh has a tight chamber using this brass with GG if this is the bullet you want to use, but perfect for a PP.
    As far as the barrel length....32" is in my opinion better then a .34" I have 7 Shiloh's with 30" to 35" long barrels and the 30 or 32" shoots just as well is the 34" or 35"
    Of the calibers you listed my choice is the .40-70. It was my first Shiloh caliber and it will do it's job on the range.

    Kurt

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Is it more difficult to achieve consistent results with a bottleneck case than a straight case with black powder?

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy Skipper's Avatar
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    I would love to hear other shooters experiences with these rounds.
    Have you checked with the guys over at the Shiloh Sharps forum? They might have some good info.
    Some people try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know why I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    I would suggest a #1 with a 30 inch heavy barrel in 45/90 it would do anything from sillhoutte to Creedmoor
    The 40-90 bn cartridge by the very nature of its case needs to be ran at full throttle and that means a minimum of 94 gr of 1f in fire formed case that are made from 45 2.6 case.
    The 45 110 is a horse to feed powder in that it needs something along the lines of 100 gr of 1f
    Sights go with the lonrange buffalo soul on the back and Baldwin or distant thunder on the rear. Hoke rear sights are good ones as well


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  11. #11
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    What Don McDowell said with a big plus for the Hoke rear sight. Check out Silver recoil pads. Shiloh would install one for you and they are probably period correct as they were in use on many of the old Brit elephant guns. In 20 years, that 500 grain bullet shoved with 70 to 100 grains of black starts to work on you through a 40 to 50 round match. Order the gun to meet NRA spec for weight.
    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.

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWT View Post
    Is it more difficult to achieve consistent results with a bottleneck case than a straight case with black powder?
    Yes they can be. The .40-90 SBN can be very accurate, but it can be very difficult too. I prefer the .40-70 SS, it is more consistent.

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    If you are only going to do this once, I would opt for the extra fancy wood, AA finish, pewter tip on the forearm.

    Sights MVA are very good, and I have a few of theirs sights, just put a set of Steve Baldwin's sights on a new to me 40-65, also nice sights from a man who does a lot to support our sport.

    Caliber, matter of choice? I have a 30 inch heavy octagon in 45-90 , using 76 grains Swiss 1 1/2, .060 Walters wad, light compression, shoots well, 560 grain Bullshop bullets, Baco Mold.

    Would agree about the shotgun butt plate, with the recoil, but BACO has a really good recoil pad, that works very well. The steel is very pretty.

    Haven't shot the 40-65 yet, just got it, and finally starting to load for it over the weekend, it's got the steel butt plate, color case hardened, semi fancy wood, pewter tip on the forearm.

    I would opt for the pistol grip with the cheek pieces. IMO it gives you a little better control.

    The "90" I found at a local gun show, the 40-65 from gunbroker.

    You will have about a two year wait, if ordering direct from Shiloh, there is a fellow that does "pre-orders" Bill Goodman that can cut your wait significantly. No recommendations either way.

    Good luck and enjoy your new rifle when she comes, and Happy Birthday!

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    It may not be the easiest to find a good load for, nor the most popular. But the .40-70 bottleneck was a fine cartridge in its day, if used within reasonable range. Mine is more accurate than I can see, and is a pleasure to shoot. My eyes no longer see as well as they did, but this target was shot with a #3 sporter, and a no-name vernier tang sight. I'm just a plinker, but I'm sure that more skilled shooters can do the same or better. Just food for thought.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Bub
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    Nice shooting love those big round holes.

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    I agree with Don McDowell. Get something that you will enjoy shooting. The 45 x 2.4 will handle 1000yds just fine. You don't need anything longer. Just check to see how many 45-120 barrels have been for sale because they were taken off to get something more reasonable. A 30" or 32" barrel makes better sense and a better handling rifle. A shotgun butt is more pleasurable to shoot than the military butt. I know most originals had the military butt plate but I think people were tougher back in the day.

    The 40-70 Straight with .405 brass will handle 1000 yds well with the 14" twist. Just ask Barbara Walters. She shoots one and holds several national records.

    It's your birthday present and I would hate to see you get something you don't really enjoy and it becomes a closet queen.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master



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    I have a Winchester 1885 in 50-90 Sharps. It was my first venture into the world of the Holy Black and I believe I could have made a wiser choice. This rifle when loaded with 695 Gr lead boolit over 104 gr of Swiss 1 1/2 and a felt .60 wad with light compression is a foot stompin' knee knockin' recoil producer. I cannot shoot this rifle in the prone because as a former LEO I would rather give pain then be the receiver and the level of pain that this 12 lb rifle produces is way more than I want to enjoy. I picked up an H&R Handi Rifle in 38-55 which is really fun to shoot and load for. I enjoy it so much that I bought another rifle in the same caliber. A Marlin 336 Cowboy in 38-55 Winchester joined the team and it is really fun to load up some 38-55 rounds with black powder and stink up the firing line during a silly wet competition. Nowhere near the punishing recoil of the big fifty and the rifle does not weigh 12 lbs naked.

    The 38-55 will not hold a candle against the Sharps 50 beyond 300 yds although I have had some success on a 400yd steel bison target. It should as the target is over 36" wide and 30" tall. I seldom drag it out since two men are needed to erect it and take it down and I am usually flying solo at the range. As I enjoy a range day as about 6 hours long very few shooting buddies are that dedicated to focus on anything that takes longer than an NFL game and by hour 4 they are begging to go home to hoist a cold adult beverage and park their derrierre in a soft leather recliner. A friend of mine has a 38-55 custom built at about $4,000 that is a true joy to shoot and handle. He went with a French polish finish, pewter foreend, double set triggers, engraving and other goodies. It took him two years to wring out his custom loading and he is quite accurate with that iron. Sadly now he shoots for another team and his rifle was left behind on Earth with his heirs as cancer finally took him out.
    Pax Nobiscum Dan (Crash) Corrigan

    Currently casting, reloading and shooting: 223 Rem, 6.5x55 Sweede, 30 Carbine, 30-06 Springfield, 30-30 WCF, 303 Brit., 7.62x39, 7.92x57 Mauser, .32 Long, 32 H&R Mag, 327 Fed Mag, 380 ACP. 9x19, 38 Spcl, 357 Mag, 38-55 Win, 41 Mag, 44 Spcl., 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 45 ACP, 454 Casull, 457 RB for ROA and 50-90 Sharps. Shooting .22 LR & 12 Gauge seldom and buying ammo for same.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWT View Post
    On Friday I hit the half century mark and my wife has agreed that it is time for me to order an 1874 Shiloh Sharps. I have been wanting one of these for 25 years. I wanted to seek the advise of experienced people in a few of the options.

    Intended use would be target shooting, aspiring to move into longer range competitions.

    I am planning on the pack case hardening, 34" octagon barrel, double trigger, with the Hartford collar and pewter forearm tip. For wood I'm thinking semi-fancy with the AA finish in a military configuration stock with the steel military buttplate and no cheekpiece. I was planning on the forearm bedding.

    Question #1: Caliber. I'm old enough to not want something so punishing that I won't want to shoot it at every range session, but I still love the idea of the cigar sized cartridges. Just going through the options, I am thinking 40-90 straight, 40-90 bottleneck, 45-110, 50-70, or 40-70. I don't want a 45-70 because I already shoot a couple of trapdoors. My concerns are brass availability, longer range accuracy, and loading difficulty. I would love to hear other shooters experiences with these rounds.


    Question #2: Sights. I am pretty set on an MVA #113 front sight. For the rear I was thinking either the #102 MVA medium range buffalo soule or the #103 MVA long range buffalo soule. https://shilohrifle.com/sights/
    I would do the 45/70 cause it does everything well with the long range sight,I did and it works for me but I"m easy /Ed

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    If 600 yds is about your max range, then a .40-65 will give you more power and probably more accuracy and definitely a wind advantage over a .38-55 with less recoil than any of the .45s. It's advantage over the .40-70 is the long-term guarantee of cheap and widely available brass (sized down .45-70s). It is not on you list of possibilities, but it should be.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy RED BEAR's Avatar
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    well happy birthday hope you really enjoy.

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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
GC Gas Check