Discussions of powders, bullets and loading information.

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charlie young
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Post by charlie young » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:51 pm

I have read in the past on here about the woes of the early C sharps/Shiloh/Farmgindale Sharps and their freebore. Does anyone have any specs on that chamber or a diagram? I am just curious as to the makeup and why some found it hard to get good accuracy?



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Post by Brent » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:01 pm

I have specs and drawings somewhere. But best forgotten. The freebore region was 0.6" long, had several diameters beginning at more than groove diameter and was basically a clusterf@&k from the git go. After the 0.6" freebore there was a quasi normal rise to full bore diameter lands. I forget the details of it.

Why go there? Other than it created the vacant niche that became Badger Barrels, I don't know of any reason to revisit that method of chamber carving again.

Just straddling the hard line between "the arrogance of dogmatism and the despair of skepticism"

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Post by charlie young » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:06 pm

Curiosity, since I am chambering a new rifle and one of the Reamer manufacturers is selling a reamer with considerable free bore, although not that much. He said it is designed for jacketed and lead bullets. I was just curious as to the reason this era of Sharps was designed that way in the first place.

Why go there? Well I thought someone might actually learn a little history of the rifles, instead of the usual, I'm the best shot/everybody but me is an asshole/don't ask questions if you don't know anything attitude that is common place on here anymore.


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A new reamer--

Post by rdnck » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:44 pm

A new design reamer with considerable freebore designed for jacketed and lead bullets? That sounds like some of that hope and change we've been getting lately. Let us know how that works out for you, O.K.? rdnck.
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Post by Kelley O. Roos » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:16 pm


I think the idea may have came from the Canadians. The Canadians were shooting Creedmoor with 45-70's and wanted more powder to get better accuracy for 9 and 1000 yards,so they freebored their 45-70's by as much as .600 and more.. Frank M. has one and he shoots it very well, a World title he has and also Dave Hicks shoots one, another World Champion. With a long freebore these BPCR's can't be treated like a Weatherby to get good accuracy.

The above is speculation on my part because of what Frank and Dave have told me about how the Canadians were chambering their rifles and those guys have been shooting BPCR longer then we have, I believe.

Kelley O.

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Post by charlie young » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:13 pm

Thanks Kelley, appreciate the info.

Mr. Rdnk, where in the world did I say that I was gonna go that route for my rifle. I have no intentions of doing that.


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Post by mdeland » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:24 pm

I have wondered about that design as well Charlie. I doubt that it was just dreamed up arbitrarily and must have had some successful accuracy behind it for it to have been put into production.
Actually, it sounds like an exaggerated form of the taper leade, Orville describes and uses successfully. MD


Post by Vbull » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:46 pm

Pretty much what Kelley wrote. When Dave and I started shooting long range BP cartridge matches, the canadians were the only game going. They had been doing it for quite some time and had settled on 45-70's shooting 15-20% duplex loads. Rifles were predominatly Martinis and Rugers with Central (click adjustable) sights. There was also a "Spirit of the Original" (Traditional straight black) class. We both originally competed with Shiloh's shooting straight black. (40-65 and 45-70) It did not take long before we both built rifles with freebored chambers to get more horsepower. Since we wanted some way to shoot long range without using duplex loads, we settled on a freebored chamber.

15+ years ago, 45-90 cases were hard to come by. There was some stretched brass and basic brass cases but not too much else. Plus it was expensive!

Back then, there were 2 different ways to get the .45-70 case to perform as a .45-2.4. One way was to freebore the chamber .300" at groove depth. The other way was to use a 2 diameter bullet that allowed the bullet to seat out into the rifling with just the base sitting in the case. Both ways allow a .45-70 case to hold 85 gr. of powder. You can get more in if a collar is used and the powder compressed down into the case.
If a freebore is cut correctly, it also helps align the bullet in the barrel. (but so does a correctly sized bore riding bullet nose) These are strictly target rifle chambers as the lube grooves are exposed to whatever. With the availability of good .45-2.4 and longer brass, it is no longer necissary to freebore a chamber.
Dave and I both still use those rifles built almost 20 years ago for target matches and they still perform. My roller (dog fight gun) has been setup as a long range scope class rifle.

I cannot comment on why the original owner of Shiloh freebored his rifles. Those I've seen and shot had the freebore cut too large in diameter for my liking but they shot good if a custom bullet mold was made to fit the freebore. Frank Monikowski

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Post by bobw » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:59 pm

Vbull wrote:
I cannot comment on why the original owner of Shiloh freebored his rifles. Those I've seen and shot had the freebore cut too large in diameter for my liking but they shot good if a custom bullet mold was made to fit the freebore. Frank Monikowski
I think the man to ask this of is MLV, he was very instrumental in the way Shiloh now chambers their guns because of the way the existing overbored freebore was resulting in less than stellar accuracy with grease groove bullets in the late 1970's and early to mid 80's. I have read it more than a few times, maybe the following is internet BS, maybe not, but the reason Wolf Droege dumped the original Sharps chamber dimensions was for shiloh users then to use groove dia gg bullets and patched to groove dia. bullets. The original chambers were to tight to do this. Then he had customers complain that they could not seat their patched to groove dia bullets out as long as the originals were(they looked cool), Remember now they weren't patching to bore dia.. Remember all the Tom Ballard cut Lyman blocked ppb molds? they patched to groove period . So in response to customer complaints about not getting the OAL the customers wanted with these molds, they started down the wrong path by freeboring the chambers and overboring it as well. The wrong path being patched to groove dia instead of patched to bore like the originals. This did not make the gg shooters happy and with poor sales of pp molds and equipment, the change to a grease groove chamber was transitioned in. MLV was an influence in that.
I believe that the original ammunition was not studied or understood in this time frame by Wolf D, maybe it was and discounted. We have a path and the knowledge to it thanks to Orville Loomer who did study it and spent the time, effort and no small amount of money to get back to the way the Sharps rifle was correctly loaded for in the 1870's and 1880's. I have studied the history of Shiloh's the best I can thru the words and experiences of others, I maybe wrong on some points of what I have tried to put together for myself.My own older Shiloh's are both freebored a 50-3 1/4" and a 40-70 2.1" and they shoot well with bullets correctly dimensioned for them. Shiloh's today shoot very well as most of you know with gg bullets. It takes different approachs and methods to get the same results with patched to bore bullets in today's chambers(thickwall brass etc.) Charlie you asked and its my 2 cts worth. bobw
Last edited by bobw on Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Clarence » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:41 pm


One sort of correction-many of the Tom Ballard moulds were tapered. I had one that threw a 0.449" diameter at the rear, and 0.439" just before the ogive. With a short throat, I could still load them way out. I got reasonable hunting accuracy, but it took more time and effort than I had.


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Post by bobw » Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:14 pm

Clarence Tom Ballard cut many a mold and of all types. The ones I was referring to were the straight sided paper patched molds he cut for C.Sharps in the early 80's. I have both a 40 and 45 cal . they were .399" and .448" to patch to groove and were for sale from C.Sharps in The American Sharps Shooter newspaper.As in( Vol.1, Edition 2 1985 page 9 )They were adjustable and cup based built on Lyman blocks. I have talked to more than a few shooters who like you had a T Ballard tapered mold also. bobw

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Post by Minnesota AL » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:48 pm

The chamber on the 45-90 Hepburn I have approximates the drawing Dan T posted. Except the freebore is about .460-.461. Visual and cerro safe shows a nice gradual transition into the rifling after the freebore.

Actually shoots GG best, so far, with the bullet seated all the way into the case. Wouldn't have thought that.

PP with bullets patched to .451 were terrible, as might be expected. A short experiment with PJ 45001 sized to .452 and patched to .459-60 showed some real promise. 3 of 5 went into about .5 MOA and the other 2 opened the group to 2.5 MOA at 200 yards. Cases are a little short and I'm getting paper rings on some cases. Need some longer cases to eliminate that issue, seating the bullet out further will also help I'm told. I seat usually about .25" into the case for PP, was told .1" would be better.

In theory this freebore chamber makes some sense. A fire formed case ID is about .461 which matches the freebore pretty close. Seems like with the right length case this bullet will get launched with minimal distortion. GG bullets should also work if I get them with a bore ride nose and driving bands at .459-.460 At the cost of a good mold, I want to see if the theories work for PP bullets before I make any mould investments. I ordered some of Buffalo Arms largest daimeter 45 cal PPB, hope they arrive soon.

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Post by Kurt » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:11 pm


Does your cast look anywhere near like this cast of a .45-90?


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Post by zrifleman » Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:34 pm

My 45-70 Farmingdale has a throat about .550 long that is cut to groove diameter. A friend has nearly an identical rifle. Both guns shoot PJ bullets seated forward and PP bullets .456 dia seated to rifling with excellent accuracy.[/code]

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Post by powderburner » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:05 am

I have seen a few different rifles chambered with the freebore , a couple were old farmingdales , and they run about 1/2 inch and a few different C.sharps /.
,shilohs their freebores were a lot different looking , the two I had , a 45 and a 50 were a lot longer than the farmingdales ,
My 50 was over 3/4 inch . ,when I bought it, it was an option to get a pp chamber and john asked when I ordered it what wt, bullet I was going to shoot , he chambered it accordingly I believe because I told him I was wanting to shoot a 700 gn bullet , the 45 has a shorter chamber throat because I told him I was shooting a 500 gn bullet, both moulds are straight sided I got from him and both are for groove sized bullets. thats as good as I can remember as it has been about 25 years ago...........Dean corrections are welcome ..
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