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Thread: Sharps Powder?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Sharps Powder?

    what powder do most of you find has a good accuracy reputation. im currently using 5744 but im not impressed at all shooting from 22-28 grains with a 425 Postel style bullet. also.. i have been seating the bullets with the first driving band sealing with some pressure. How important is that or could it hurt accuracy in some instances? Im shooting a Pedersoli 1874 Sharps 45-70

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    give aa5744 a chance, i used it a lot and with great success, i believe it's the best smokeless for these 19th century cartridges. sr4759 was another good powder, but it's long out of production. some of the guys i shoot bpcr with are having good success with imr4198. you didn't mention what distances yer shooting at, but if 200 yards or longer i suspect you'd get better results with the heavier and longer lyman 532 grain 457132 postel. since yer doing greasers, playing with the cartridge max OAL and neck tension is also worth testing. there are a lotta factors with these cartridges and guns, and our shooting ability is one them as well. however, i would recommend giving real black powder a good try.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I was kind of disappointed that 5744 worked the best in my C. Sharps .45-90. Around here it's $35.00/lb+Tx. Was hoping 4198 or my supply of 4759 would work better.
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  4. #4
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    Its a Sharps - Swiss 1 1/2 is the only powder that should be allowed in that rifle...

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    You might want to try a longer/heavier bullet, some 18 twist barrels won't shoot any bullets under 480 gr. worth a flip.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Might also give 4198 a chance and see if it's better for your gun.

  7. #7
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    My 'go-to' boolit for 45-70s is a 440 gr RNFP and, working up loads for 3 different rifles, have never have never been able to obtain what I consider 'acceptable' results with 5744. In my 'modern' (reproduction) guns...a Pedersoli RB and a Taylor (Uberti) Highwall...my 'best' loads use AA2015 or (second choice) H4198. In the Trapdoor, on the other hand, haven't found anything better than good ol' FFg.

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    In my first decade as a cast bullet shooter, I went through pounds of 5744. One key thing that finally dawned on me is that it wants to see 25,000 psi to burn clean and give decently low velocity variance. Heavy bullets and velocities above 1700 fps in general worked better.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    In my first decade as a cast bullet shooter, I went through pounds of 5744. One key thing that finally dawned on me is that it wants to see 25,000 psi to burn clean and give decently low velocity variance. Heavy bullets and velocities above 1700 fps in general worked better.
    i also came the the same conclusion, mainly about casting heavy 500 grain or more greasers, and 25 grains of aa5744, for a roller and a sharps. wicked accurate once the load is sussed out. no matter what the charge, aa5744 always left some unburnt powder in the tube.
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  10. #10
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    The one thing that works best for me is, are you kissing that bullet up into the lands or few thousands back ? I found you cant free bore big bore slugs you need get them up to the lands so there NO BULLET JUMP. 5744 will always leave unburnt powder but by moving the bullet up to the lands it will burn cleaner because pressure will be higher.Roll Crimping is not what you want in single shot ,taper crimp is what you want with the bullet kiss in the lands and if you sizing you cases to the point your bullet when u seat it shows any any deform in the case you probably tweak and off set your bullet and round. powder is a tuner, can take 5744,4198 or what ever you have, take up the slack in the chamber or your out of line for the bore. FILL that chamber up with a concentric round.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Proper powder is Bp preferably Swiss or Old ensford.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Chambers View Post
    Proper powder is Bp preferably Swiss or Old ensford.
    why do folks always have to say this when the question has nothing to do with the thread? SMH Geese i swear some of the BP crowd are just jerks when it comes to this round.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnabus View Post
    why do folks always have to say this when the question has nothing to do with the thread? SMH Geese i swear some of the BP crowd are just jerks when it comes to this round.
    the OP asked about "sharps powder" and while the body of his text bespoke of smokeless, in truth these later 19th century cartridges were made with gunpowder in mind. after years of going the smokeless route for .45-70 and .40-65 i found that black was/is simply better than true smokeless or subs - for me. whether it can be called "proper" or "better" or whatever will require the personal attentions and opinions of the user. since the OP was literally asking for opinions/comments, that's what he got, and can take 'em or leave 'em, as expected. and it appears mt chambers rendered his opinion. no more or less. it's all good if it works good ... for you. and that's the simple truth.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    the OP asked about "sharps powder" and while the body of his text bespoke of smokeless, in truth these later 19th century cartridges were made with gunpowder in mind. after years of going the smokeless route for .45-70 and .40-65 i found that black was/is simply better than true smokeless or subs - for me. whether it can be called "proper" or "better" or whatever will require the personal attentions and opinions of the user. since the OP was literally asking for opinions/comments, that's what he got, and can take 'em or leave 'em, as expected. and it appears mt chambers rendered his opinion. no more or less. it's all good if it works good ... for you. and that's the simple truth.
    Well said and have not met a BP jerk yet,mostly helpful folks that are worth listening too

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    You mean that there was no AA5744 when the '74 was introduced??

  16. #16
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    Like RFD I have rifles in calibers that see only Black powder. I also have rifles that have only seen smokeless powders and jacketed bullets. I will say in the early straight walled cartridges (45-70, 40-65, 45-90, 38-55) I get the lowest extreme spreads and standard deviations with black powder. These have been ESs of 6-12 fps and SDs in the 3s. I have also found that when the correct compression is found in the load velocity seems to drop in right where I need it. Accuracy is very good and it becomes knowing the sight settings for a given range. In these cartridges I have not gotten the ESs and SDs with smokeless powders.
    I have found a lot of accuracy issues with these lower pressure rounds come more from a to hard alloy for the bullet than the powder used. The hard bullets just don't bump up at these pressures like they need to. I cast bullets for these rounds in 20-1 lead tin and have even done 30-1. With the proper lubes and fit there is no leading.

    Another thing Ive found is with some newer designed bullets seem to have shallow narrower lube grooves and don't always carry enough lube for the longer barrels on these rifles. They are fine for the 28-24" modern barrels but used in 30, 32, and 34" barrels the last 4-8" of the barrel tend to lead and you get very little to no lube stars at the muzzle.

    Another bullet related issue is the shorter light bullets may be over stabilized in the current 1-18 twists used. My pedersoli sharps with 34" half round barrel dosnt do well with the shorter 405s or even flat nose 450s, but use a 500 grn to 550 grn and its a tack driver.

    Powder is only 1 part of the accuracy equation. Cases, primers, bullets, neck tension, wads/fillers, oal, among other issues all contribute to accuracy and repeatability. You need to test and work with the individual rifle to see what it likes and wants.

    My loads are all very light neck tension bullets are seated onto the compressed powder wad stack by hand and tension is then set with a bushing die. Cases formed to the chamber and only neck sized can show a big improvement in accuracy and also a slight increase in capacity. I do uniform my cases by trimming to the same length, cutting the primer pockets flat, deburring the flash holes this has also improved accuracy.

    Not knowing the full information on the OPs brass, loads, alloy and technique makes it harder to offer help. ( a lot anneal these big cases every 2-3 firings to maintain neck tension). Fighting/arguing amongst ourselves over powder type makes it harder for him to sort through the info.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnabus View Post
    why do folks always have to say this when the question has nothing to do with the thread? SMH Geese i swear some of the BP crowd are just jerks when it comes to this round.
    We are simply telling the fellow what works best. I put on a One Mile Shoot for buffalo guns. No competitor has made the target with smokeless, much less placed in the top three. BP just plain works in this application.
    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.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I had a buddy that really was into BP and Sharps rifles. Used to shoot matches all over. Asked me if I had chronograph and said yes. Next week he trots out about 6 Sharps and we set about chronographing loads for his rifles. I was amazed as to how small the velocities variations were. We did all 6 and each tape from the (ohler 33 or 35 with the proof channel) was labeled as to the load, rifle and any info he wanted. Day well spent and I learned a lot. At the time I only had a Ruger #1 in 45/70 and accuracy was poor with cast. Couldn't get a good cheek weld, stock too long and scope not back far enough. Slugged the bbl and was .459 my cast bullet barely made .459. And trapdoor speeds. Frank

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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