Step by Step' guide, creating live 'flat base'/1860 Ordnance
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Author:  David Rider [ Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:05 am ]
Post subject:  Step by Step' guide, creating live 'flat base'/1860 Ordnance

The new approach starts by slipping the lubricated bullet inside the brass former, then applying glue on the rings (of one side) of the bullet. This makes the bullet stick to inside of the paper tube and keep it locked in place for the rest of the steps. Also, it serves to orient the bullet into the rifling during loading. It only took me, from start to finish, an hour to make up 10 'live' cartridges. The other advantage is that these rounds are the closest, in look and function, to the original Sharps cartridges.

A couple weeks ago I made 40 'Pattern 2' Ordnance rounds for Brian White, Dan Wambaugh and I try at the local range. Every cartridge fed easily into the chamber, stayed intact when the block was closed, and were accurate.

I think readers who are interested in shooting their Sharps rifles will find this new approach easy to use and will perform very well on the shooting range.

Article Attached,

Bill Skillman


Author:  Calum [ Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Step by Step' guide, creating live 'flat base'/1860 Ordn


Thanks for sharing!

So if I'm reading this correctly, you still lube the bullet as normal (prior to cartridge assembly) and because you lightly glue the bullet. And then at the end of the process, you tap it down, it reduced the "space at the bottom" of the cartridge?

Between your "Finish smoothing tissue" and "Finished cartridge-base view", it looks like the amount of lip is reduced. Or is the tapping rolling the lip a bit?

Interesting. Very interesting article.


Author:  Bill Skillman [ Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Step by Step' guide, creating live 'flat base'/1860 Ordn

Thanks for the compliments, Calum

Unfortunately, a couple photos that I put into the essay were taken during the 'R&D' stage of my experiment. Originally, I relied on the fit and friction of the paper to keep the ball positioned in the tube (just like Winston O. Smith's instructions). But when I tapped the finished cartridge, the heavy ball slid down into the case, coming to rest on the powder charge. Okay, try again; (a) glued the rings before rolling into tube--success. Next 'lesson learned' (b) tamp down powder charge (like I do my blank cartridges)--success; ball remains in place with no empty space between powder charge and ball. When you look at the finished cartridge photo in my hand, this is what the 'final product' Pattern-2 ammunition looks like. Yes, gently tapping the base of the cartridge compresses the 'lips' so the entire cartridge easily fits into the chamber. The slightly raised 'lips' also served to channel the fire from the blocks cone onto the tissue base-so ignition has been fast and 100%

I actually set out to use the Pattern-2 essay to compliment your own 'live round' article featured on the Forum. I tend to see your 'live round' as a recreation of the 'pre-War' cartridge, as well as, the CSA Arsenal ammunition issued with the Robinson Sharps Carbines. The P-2 is closer to the US Arsenal-Sharps Rifle Mfg. ammunition.

While not 'authentic', the P-2 serves as a 'good enough to shoot' cartridge, that is more consistent with the US Arsenal ammo issued to the USSS. The best proof was how excited Brian became when he lowered the block of his Ped, slid the cartridge into the chamber and felt the ball grip the rifling. For somebody who had only fired blanks through his Sharps, his excitement when sighting on the target for the first time was easy to see. When Brian pulled the trigger, his old Ped bucked back and boomed a plume of white smoke, followed by the loud 'thunk' as the ball struck the target. Brain looked over at me as his eyes nearly filed the lenses of his glasses--THAT WAS SO COOL. We both burst into belly laughs. It took him a number of shots to get comfortable shooting live rounds through his Sharps, but you'll notice his last two shots struck the orange target 1.5 inches in diameter. Kelly's Ford quality-Impressive.

Brian and I are in the process of obtaining the components to recreate live cartridge using the exact same materials as the originals. So stay tuned.

Hope this helps,

Bill Skillman
Hudson Squad Mess

Author:  Calum [ Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Step by Step' guide, creating live 'flat base'/1860 Ordn


That does indeed help. And confirms what I was thinking from the instructions, but wanted to be sure. Thank you!

I've actually been playing around with making flat base live rounds, essentially patterned off your flat base blank rounds, but haven't gotten any to the actual "firing" stage of production. Your P-2 version appears to be much less work, and more easily consistent, than what I've been attempting. It may even be easier than my clip-tail live rounds. :)

Thanks again!

Author:  Bill Skillman [ Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The 'flat base'/1860 Ordnance-bumble bees

Calum and Fellow Sharpshooters,

There is another aspect of shooting 'live' Sharps ammunition that I discovered 'spotting' for Brian during our Pattern-2 experiment. I would look through my binoculars as Brian was settling into his shooting position. Just before releasing the trigger, he'd warn: "Ready". I already had my binos focused on the target 100 yards distant, but their field of view allowed me to see another 30 feet in front of it.

Brian pulled the trigger and I saw what looked like a stubby, black bumble bee (and fly at the same speed) 'thunk' into the target and throw up a plume of dirt on the backstop. The first time it happened I shook my head. What was that??? Kamikaze Bumble-bees?

We were shooting at 4 p.m. (Daylight ST), and about 50 miles north of the 45th parallel. The lighting conditions were perfect for my binoculars to spot and follow the slow moving Sharps ball as it traveled the last 10 yards to its destination. Sometimes the balls appeared black and other times flat gray. But it was easy to track their trajectory as they punched through the white paper target.

I have read about of modern shooters (and Spec-Op snipers) using spotting scopes to follow the trajectory of their .338 Lapua, .308 Winchester and similar 'G-7 BC' bullets out to 1000 yards +. But this was the first time I got to witness shot after shot of our "pre-G-1 BC" 'bumble bees' hitting the target.

Just one more fun reason to get out to the shooting range with a box of Pattern-2's.

Bill Skillman
Hudson Squad Mess

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