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 Post subject: Loading/Firing Sharps
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:07 am
Posts: 6
Guys,

There used to be a great video out there (pre youtube) on loading and firing the sharps for reenacting.

I've read the manuals etc. but would like a more visual step by step look at firing reenactor style.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:33 pm
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Location: Old Northwest (Michigan)
Greetings,

There are some differences when firing blanks and live rounds through your Sharps. The best way to learn to fire your Sharps safely (especially if you have had little or no previous firearms handling), I would recommend that you attend an event where there are other Sharpshooters present and fall in with them. Observe and ask questions--most the Sharpshooters I have fallen in with over the years are very willing to help out a comrade in green.

You may find that there individuals may be using different styles of cartridges (cut-tail or flat based-see my article on 'authentic cartridges' for more details). There are certain details you have to pay attention to with the cut-tail rounds because of the excess powder being sliced off with the paper tail of the cartridge and falls into the upper portion of the block. Failure to blow or tip the rifle to the left to throw off the powder can lead to it igniting when you fire the weapon (the cap's flame igniting the accumulated powder and it flaming up in you face). Those fellows using the flat based rounds have no such problem.

Live firing a Sharps is a bit more complicated--since you are sending a real bullet down the barrel, and most of us like to hit the target we are aiming at. I use (blank and live) flat based cartridges for my Shiloh. Because I rely upon the close tolerances of my cartridges to slide into the reciever and stay there-the length of the cartidges are usually shorter than the majority of cut tail cartridges used. Anyway, with the bullet added to the cartridge, this increases the overall length of my cartridges--they are the same dimensions as the originals (other than the .54 caliber instead of .52).

After lowering the block, I place the ball cartridge into the slot of the Sharp's reciever and using my right thumb, carefully slide it forward into the chamber. Once I feel slight resistance, which means the ball has reached the rifling, I push more firmly to ensure that the ball is correctly oriented into the rifling. I have found that by not following this last step there is a greater chance that the ball has not been seated properly. I found that there is a greater probability that those balls will yaw in flight and wander all over the target. A couple have even 'key-holed'-flew sideways into the target--while others have kicked up dirt all over the backstop.

The North South Skirmish Association has a Q&A section on their website, and you can always find fellows posting inquiries similar to your own. The difference between those shooters and reenactors is both speed and accuracy.

Bill Skillman
Randolf Mess-USSS


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:07 am
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Thanks Bill, having rolled many a round for my enfield/springfield, I was comfortable with the type of round I was rolling and wasn't sure what I would have to change in my daily rolling habits to get the sharps to fire somewhat accurate both for live and for reenacting. I have heard they can be quite temperamental, in addition to powder flashes that could do some damage.

Thanks for pointing me to the article, helped quite a bit.

Chris


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