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Thread: Dixie Gun Works Pedersoli 40-65 silhouette Sharps rifle

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Dixie Gun Works Pedersoli 40-65 silhouette Sharps rifle

    Hello to the forum, new here, I’ve been reading posts and getting great info, I really appreciate it. I apologize for the length of this especially for a first post. Just purchased a 1874 Dixie Gun Works Pedersoli 40-65 Silhouette sharps with a 30” barrel 1:16 Twist rate. Nice gun fit and finish is good. Took it out yesterday to shoot it, only had 5 rounds, my Lyman powder dispenser developed a mind of it’s own and started throwing heavier charges than it was set for. Anyway I’m using Starline 40-65 brass, Winchester LR primers, 30 grains of IMR 4895 powder (Lyman’s Bullet Handbook shows the load range of 28-32 grains of 4895), .410 diameter 400 grain #410663 Lyman bullet from Western Bullet Company. At 25 yards, all shots were on paper about 2” to the left of the bullseye and in a string of about 7” but I attribute that to me having a problem using the sights (awful small for these almost 70 year old eyes). Like I said, I only had the 5 loaded rounds so it was a very short shooting experience. My question to the forum is this: when I cleaned the rifle, the barrel was dirty, more so than if I had shot one of my “modern” rifles using 4895, no leading but there was some unburnt powder left in the brass and chamber (I confirmed this by using a lit match and put it against a couple of grains of the unburnt powder and it burned. Is this normal? Would another powder be better? Try CCI LR primers? Just shot it to break it in? I appreciate any help and thank you in advance. If this the wrong place to post this, I apologize and ask that it be moved to the correct place.
    Harold1950
    Last edited by Harold1950; 01-25-2020 at 04:41 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    Many people who use smokeless in large blackpowder cartridges use something a little faster burning, like 5744. I would, though, expect some unburned granules from any reasonable-sized charge of smokeless suited to lead boolit velocities. There simply isnít the pressure available to burn it all efficiently.

    On the other hand, I have shot cast in a lot of rifles with powders like 4759 and even slower powders with surprising accuracy, even though the barrel looked like a fallen leaf strewn trail in the woods after every shot.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    That's normal for the IMR powders to leave some unburned granules behind. As for the 7" string concentrate on the front sight and its location on the target.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master


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    As a lower cost alternative to 5744 try Shooters World Buffalo Rifle. Direct replacement in my experience so far. If your accuracy is ok with a slower powder I would not be overly concerned with a few powder granules as long as there is no leading or very little easily removed.

    As for 4895 leaving granules I can't speak to that as I don't have a 40-65 but it would seem to me that looking at powder charts and picking a slightly faster powder would solve that problem for you.

    Post a picture of that rifle if you can, I'd like to take a look at it. A few years ago CDNN was blowing them out for about $500 if I remember right and I almost pulled the trigger on one but dithered long enough that they were gone when I decided to get one.
    Last edited by jonp; 01-25-2020 at 07:09 PM.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    I hope the picture comes through

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Use blackpowder if you want it to shoot!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I bought one in the first shipment to be imported. Dixie was knocking $100.00 off the price if you prepaid for the rifle and waited for the rifles to be made and shipped. I opted for the 40-65 and had to wait a year almost to the day to receive it. It was a fine shooter, sadly I traded it off several years later. I only shot the holy black powder loads though. Very light recoiling rifle.
    NRA Life
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    GARD72977's Avatar
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    Very nice looking rifle!
    " If you cant do it with a 308 , you dont need to do it!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Several smokeless powders will work better in your Sharps in .40-65. 4895 is a good powder, but I prefer it in higher pressure cartridges, and not old straight wall cases.
    4198, 4227, and 2400 would all be better choices.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I have the same experience with smokeless in my cavernous cartridges: About 15% unburned powder, but everything works well.
    I used to shoot 4198, but it's position sensitive. Not wanting to use fillers (real issues with some powders), I switched to 5744 which is not position sensitive and can and should be used without fillers.
    Still get the unburned powder, but it shoots well in my .50-70...
    Nice gun, Harold! Thanks for sharing the picture.
    I share your frustration for period sights! My eyes are a few years younger than yours, but they don't do well with genuine 150 year old or older sights...
    Welcome, and best of Luck!

    -Tom

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    A lot of smokeless powders need a certain pressure level to burn cleanly, in 308 and 30-06 at those pressures there no unburnt 4895 as an example. The pedersolis are fine accurate rifles. My BPCR rifles have never seen smokeless 1-2 ff black powder at the right compression fives me good accurate loads Normally Extreme Spreads of 6-12 FPS and Standard Deviations of 3 or so. Fouling does take a little "control" to manage but a couple breaths thru a blow tube or wiping does it.

    My 40-65 load is as follows:
    Starline Brass, primer pockets uniformed flash holes deburred
    Trimmed uniform for length chamfered and deburred. I use the vld angled chamfer tool
    Cases are annealed ( every 2 loading) and polished
    Hand seat a rem std rifle primer
    A charge of 2 f olde ensforde to give desired compression.
    A .060 napa rubber fiber wad and 3 tracing paper or news print wads
    Compress to depth with a compression die
    Hand seat bullet to wads
    with the sizing die set high size case down to a light neck tension you want the bullet to be held but spin remove by hand. Usually about .400 high from full length size is close.
    With new brass you may have to bell and seat with die, or by make a expander a couple thou bigger.

    I normally shoot for 1150-1250 fps With 400-425 grn bullets.

    Your rifle is very similar to my Pedersoli Sharps long range.Half round barrel mine is 34" long, double set triggers The pedersoli rear sight leaves some to be desired if adjusting for different ranges in a silhouette match. Mine is a very fine shooter and very nice rifle. I have shot it to 500 yds accurately.

    One last item. You didnt give the range you shot at. These rifles are very touchy on bench technique. varying pressures on the bags cheek piece and bags will affect groups. Pull straight back into your shoulder with very light down pressure on cheek piece

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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