CARE AND LOADING ISTRUCTIONS FOR 1859/ 1863 SHARPS RIFLES
Before handling this or any other firearm, always make sure the firearm is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction
Using a quality gun solvent , remove all excess factory lubricant. Field stripping the firearm will facilitate this process. (See Field Stripping). Relubricate all moving contact points with a quality "spray type" gun lubricant.
Throughly clean the bore, and remove all excess solvent with clean, dry patches, replacing them as often as necessary until they come out clean and dry.
a. A slight film of gun oil should be left in the barrel during long periods of storage, however, the cleaning procedure MUST be repeated before shooting the firearm. The barrel must always be clean and dry before shooting.
After making sure the gun is unloaded, and with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, field strip the gun.
a. With the action CLOSED, place the hammer in the half-cock position . You will notice a tiny plunger pin (part. n.49) located on the right side of the frame.
b. The lever hinge pin (part. n. 48)is located on the lower front of the frame on the right-hand side of the rifle. While pushing in on the tiny plunger pin, rotate the arm of the lever hinge pin forward past the plunger pin, approximately 180 degrees from its original position. Turn the rifle upside down. While rotating forward and backward a few degrees, and pulling outward, remove the lever hinge pin. After the lever hinge pin has been removed, slide the lever and the breech block up and out of the rifle.
c. You have now field stripped the rifle. Further disassembly should be attempted only by a competent gunsmith.
d . Reverse the above procedure for reassembly.
Remove the block.
Remove the gas check (part. n.18) from the chamber. This is very important! If the gas check is not removed, cleaned and greased on a regular basis, it will become fouled, stick, and no longer set back against the breech face and seal the breach to stop the gas from leaking.
- Gas leaking around the gas check can do two things:
- - it can possibly injure the shooter;
- - it will gas cut the breech face and compund the problem.
- Use a good bore solvent to clean the bore and breech.
- Oil the bore and breech with a good grade of oil.
- Put a thin coat of grease on the gas check and slide it back into the breech.
- Replace the block.
- With proper cleaning you will enjoy years of shooting yours SHARPS.
We strongly recommend you practise the procedure of placing the rifle on safe before attempting to load and fire the rifle.
To place the rifle on safe, slowly drop the hammer to the half-cock position. We strongly recommend not loading the rifle until you are in the hunting field, or on the target range and You are ready to shoot safely.
To properly load the rifle, first point the muzzle downrange in a safe direction. Place the rifle on safe,by placing the hammer in the half cock position. Extend the lever downward, fully opening the breech. Carefully insert one bullet of proper caliber into the breech, allowing it to firmly seat into the front of the chamber. Slightly overfill the remaining chamber with FFg black powder, or RS Pyrodex. Black powder being the more reliable of the two powders where ignition is concerned. (NOTE: a paper cartridge can be inserted in the chamber instead of the bullet and powder method at this time.)
a. The chamber should hold approximately 50 to 60 grains of powder in 45 caliber, and 60 to 80 grains in 54 caliber. Actual powder capacity can vary, depending on bullet type, or configuration. MAXIMUM LOADS SHOULD NOT EXCEED 6O GRAINS IN 45 CAL. OR 80 GRAINS IN 54 CAL. ALL POWDER GRAIN WEIGHTS GIVEN ARE FOR FFg BLACK POWDER.
With the barrel pointed straight down, tap the rifle a few times to allow the powder to settle in the chamber. (If using the paper cartridge method, push the cartridge firmly into the cylinder, slightly compacting the powder, and insuring a complete charge.) With the barrel still pointed down, carefully close the breech, shaving any excess powder (or paper and powder if using paper cartridges) away from the rear of the chamber. Turn the rifle over while bringing the muzzle up, so any excess paper and powder will fall away from the top of the breech and onto the ground. With the muzzle pointing up, tap the rifle a few times to allow powder to settle against the back of the breech block. This procedure will aid in insuring consistent firing.
a. Your rifle is equipped with an adjustable set trigger assembly. Screw the trigger adjusting screw (part n.58 ) inward or outward until the desired trigger pressure is obtained. ALWAYS adjust the set triggers with an UNLOADED rifle!!!
b. With the barrel pointed safely down range, cap the rifle with musket cap and fully cock the hammer. While pointing at Your target,slowly pull on the REAR trigger until it sets. While aiming at your target, slowly squeeze the FRONT trigger and your rifle will fire.
In the event your rifle does not fire,continue pointing the rifle downrange in a SAFE DIRECTION for a period of at least TWO MINUTES, or until you are satisfied the CHARGE IS "DEAD" and the chance of a hangfire has passed. After placing the rifle on safe, de-cap the nipple and inspect it for any obstructions. Point the muzzle up and tap the rifle a few times and repeat the capping and firing procedure. If the rifle continues to misfire, unloading may be necessary. See "unloading procedure" below.
With the barrel pointed in a safe direction, place the rifle on safe. CAREFULLY remove the musket cap. After the cap has been removed, point the muzzle toward the ground. Tap the rifle a few times to settle the powder back toward the front of the main chamber away from the gas chamber and vent. This will allow You to open the breech without pulling powder which would have normally settled in the gas chamber, into the mortise (barrel stud) for the lever spring, in the forend, under the barrel. If powder is allowed to trickle into this area, there is a chance that the flash from the cap communicating with the now accumulated powder at the mortise, COULD EXPLODE and cause DAMAGE TO THE RIFLE and INJURY TO THE SHOOTER.
a. Due to design, the above scenario is incidental to this particular model of ALL SPORTING SHARPS RIFLES. The best way to avoid the situation described above, is to follow three important rules.
Rule 1: Insure that the nipple and vent are clean and clear of oil or other obstructions prior to loading .
Rule 2: Avoid as much as possible opening the breech after the rifle has been loaded. If the breech must be opened, remember to tap the rifle a few times with the muzzle pointing down prior to drawing down the slide.
Rule 3: When in doubt, remove the forend and clear away any powder which has accumulated in or around the spring and mortise.
With the barrel still pointing down and after the rifle has been tapped a few times, carefully draw down the slide and open the breech. Turn the rifle over so the powder will flow down, away from the forend and out the top of the breech. (Forend should be up and top of the breech should be facing down.) DO NOT allow powder to trickle down into the bottom of the breech or the forend.
Use a wooden dowel or ramrod to push the bullet from the chamber.
Clean and inspect the vent and nipple before reloading. Fire a couple of caps through the unloaded rifle to aid in cleaning out the nipple and vent, prior to loading.
Your Sharps Rifle is equipped with an adjustable rear sight with a provision for windage elevation. Sighting adjustments should be made with the front sight, which, for the models provided with dove tail, is drift adjustable for windage. With a brass drift, the front sight can be moved left or right,depending on which direction your rifle happens to be shooting. Move the front sight in the direction you are shooting. If you are shooting to the left, move your front sight left; if it shoots right, move the front sight right. For short range elevation adjustments, it may be necessary to file the front sight blade down a little. You may use your elevation rail (part. n.21) in combination with the rear sight slide (part. n.25 ) as a reference for long distance shooting.
To make nitrated paper, for paper cartridges, you will need to obtain some potassium nitrate (available from your local pharmacy. Saturate one cup of water (or as much as you need) with potassium nitrate, until no more will dissolve and pour it into a flat pan. Thoroughly soak "rag bond" paper , of the lightest weight available, in the potassium nitrate solution. A minute is usually sufficient. Be sure the "rag bond" paper is constructed of cloth, rather then wood pulp (obtained at some office supply stores).
After drying, roll the now nitrated paper around a dowel the same diameter as the projectile you are shooting. (Note :smaller pieces of paper are easier to work with). Approximate dimensions for pieces of paper are 1-15/16" wide by 3" long for 54 caliber and 1-11/16" wide by 3" long for 45 Caliber. This will allow for 1/4" overlap. Use a glue stick to glue the paper together. Insert the bullet into one end of the rolled paper and tie it together with a piece of silk thread, (bullets should have lube grooves, so the silk thread and knot can recess slightly into the bullet after being tied). An alternative method would be to tack it on with glue.
NOTE: Cigarette rolling paper may be used in place of nitrated paper provided it is proper length to insure a complete powder charge.
Fill the remaining space of the cartridge with a pre-measured amount of powder, allowing an empty space at the top so the paper can be tied, or folded over and glued. Powder charge will be approximately 60 grains of FFg for 45 cal. and 80 grains of FFg for 54 cal. Dimensions and amount of powder needed can vary, depending on type of bullet used.
NOTE: the excess powder is to insure a full chamber. Any excess powder or paper will be trimmed off by the closing action of the breech. See "loading and firing" for instructions regarding the use of paper cartridges.
To seal and finish the paper cartidge,twist the end of the paper and tie it with cotton or nylon string, or fold it over and glue it.
Safely precautions: make sure there is no smoldering paper residue left in chamber before loading again.