50-140 Express loads

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bruce m
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by bruce m » Mon May 08, 2017 3:49 am

ol reliable,
you might find this of interest.
mr h Holland, of Holland and Holland in the late 1800s said this regarding express rifles, and it appears to be a fairly general feeling of them in the day.
at least as far as the brits were concerned, but then they were the masters of the express rifle.
we must remember that the express rifle in black powder form was not meant for dangerous game, but an attempt to turn the standard medium game rifle point blank range of 100 yds out to as close as possible to 150 yards. that is to aim dead on with the same sight setting.
mr holland felt that a minimum muzzle velocity of 1600 fps was required to qualify as an express rifle.
a max muzzle velocity of 2000 fps was achievable, but required bullets that were too light to give both good trajectory and retain energy.
for 450 and 500 cal rifles, 1700 to 1800 fps was probably optimum.
generally a charge of 1/4 the weight of the bullet was considered minimum, up to 1/2 the weight of the bullet as max.
the larger proportion charge was used with the lightest bullets, and was therefore not common.
he felt that an express rifle should be able to fire 10 shots with adequate accuracy, and then might need to be wiped.
looking at cartridges of the world,
the 500 black powder express fired bullets of 340 to 440 gns in Holland's velocity range with charges of 123 to 142 gns.
if you want a 50 cal express, you are going to have to bite the bullet (excuse the deliberate pun) and sacrifice some wad depth while using plenty of good lube.
your 400 gn bullet will require a min of 100 gns of powder, probably more, and this will just leave room for a grease wad so you can get 10 shots without wiping using all that powder.
keep safe,
bruce.
ventum est amicus meus

martinibelgian
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by martinibelgian » Mon May 08, 2017 4:43 am

A 50-140 Express? Agree with Bruce (And Stonehenge :D ) - a 400gr bullet with at least 100gr of powder, probably a bit more in order to get that bullet moving fast enough to qualify. And with a 400gr bullet, recoil will be pretty manageable. :lol:
Mind you, accuracy expectations for express rifles were also quite a bit less than for 'normal' rifles. These were all about extending point blank range, even if this meant sacrificing some other desireable characteristics.

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OLReliable
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by OLReliable » Mon May 08, 2017 5:29 am

Good stuff. Thanks Oz.
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Orville
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by Orville » Mon May 08, 2017 7:50 am

I have several original 500 3 inch doubles, large charges of powder 120 gr. and about a 320 gr. pp bullet. One rifle is an Alex Henry made in 1875, the other is a J.P. Sauer, also have an original brass bullet mound which throws he lite short pp bullet.
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Shooting grease groove bullets in a sharps is new technology and just a passing fad.

bruce m
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by bruce m » Mon May 08, 2017 2:21 pm

orville,
you have more than 1 rifle to die for.
keep safe,
bruce.
ventum est amicus meus

bruce m
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by bruce m » Mon May 08, 2017 2:56 pm

gert,
if you never did me any other favour, putting me onto that book was fantastic.
keep safe,
bruce.
ventum est amicus meus

bobw
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by bobw » Mon May 08, 2017 3:10 pm

OLR, I use a Rapine 500 gr ppb in mine with 140 gr Fg shoots far, kills dead. I surely do tell you that It "expresses" itself. You gonna make the " Q "? I'll bring you some of them Express bullets. I think the the brits used 380-440 gr in the 500 -3 1/4" BPE. bobw
bobw

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OLReliable
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by OLReliable » Mon May 08, 2017 7:32 pm

Yassir, Bob, I'll be slippin' into Forsyth under cover of a heavy fog on Sunday before The Q. Look forward to seeing you again.
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OLReliable
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by OLReliable » Mon May 08, 2017 10:52 pm

Gussy wrote:I used to punch out 1/4" wads from bulletin board cork for a 120 I used to have. I used either 2 or 3 depending on the bullet. Also used 90-100 gr 1F for a good load.
Hey Jim,
Are you putting up a tent at the Q again this year on vendor's row?
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OLR ..... out

Gussy
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by Gussy » Mon May 08, 2017 11:32 pm

Yep, shade and a chair. See you Sun night.

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RMulhern
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by RMulhern » Fri May 12, 2017 8:17 am

OLReliable wrote:
buffalocannon wrote:Quit your sniveling, load 140 grains of 1Fg in that fencepost, and shoot it off your nuts.
Salty cashew pieces .... hmmm .... do you suppose .... NAH!!
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buffalocannon
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by buffalocannon » Fri May 12, 2017 1:11 pm

Me too Rick. Sometimes I get bored. I'm 70 now.

CptCurl
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by CptCurl » Sun May 14, 2017 2:00 pm

I have three .500BPE double rifles and have been shooting them for many years.

Also, I bought the .50-140 Farmingdale Shiloh that was in the Julia auction last month. http://jamesdjulia.com/item/3167-396/ It is scheduled for delivery this Tuesday.

When speaking of express loads for the .500 you need to distinguish between the .500 3" BPE and the less common .500 3-1/4" BPE. They are very different rounds. The .50-140 Sharps is very similar to the .500 3-1/4" BPE. The cartridges are nearly identical except the Sharps round has a thicker rim and is thought to use heavier bullets.

Here is the .500 3-1/4" entry from the Eley 1893 catalog:
Image

You see they offered two loads: a hollow point "Express" load with 440 grain bullet, and a 480 grain solid cannelured (grease groove) bullet. Both loads sat on top of 142 grains of Curtis & Harvey's #6 (2f) powder. And don't be thinking these rifles weren't meant for dangerous game . . "for Tiger Shooting, &c."

The double rifle I have in this caliber is a Dickson that was made in 1894.
Image

Dickson's records show my rifle was regulated for the 480 solid cannelured bullet. Here's an image of the ledger sheet for my rifle:
Image

So when I set out to construct a load for my Dickson I tried my best to duplicate the Eley 480 factory load - 142 grains 2f under a 480 grease groove bullet.

I have a good friend who is an engineer, and he made a drawing of the grease groove bullet. I submitted his drawing to Accurate Molds, and the bullet is now cataloged as No. 51-490S http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_det ... 490S-D.png This is a gas check, grease groove bullet and finishes out at 480 to 490 grains, depending on your alloy. It's perfect. Here's a photo showing one of my bullets next to a loaded round:
Image

I assemble this load using Hornady .470 Nitro Express brass blown out straight, a CCI250, 142 grains Olde Eynsford 2f, compression as necessary to provide clearance for my wads and bullet, one wad of beeswax foundation material over the powder, a 1/8" to 3/16" grease cookie, and the greased bullet seated to the second driving band, no crimp.
Image

When my Shiloh Sharps arrives this week I'll be trying the same load with it (in proper brass, of course).

This load is accurate, and it regulates perfectly in my Dickson. It has substantial recoil but nothing unmanageable. The Dickson weighs only 9 lbs., 9 oz. The Sharps is about 12 lbs. so recoil shouldn't be too bad there either. I'm not shooting it off my nuts, but it does well from the shoulder!

So that's my recommendation for an express load. If you were to order that bullet for use in a Sharps you might ask that it be modified to plain base since the gas check is not legal in BPCR matches. Otherwise, it's a fantastic bullet.

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Roscoe Stephenson
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CptCurl
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by CptCurl » Sun May 14, 2017 2:19 pm

I forgot to mention, that load does a marvelous job of controlling the fouling. The greased bullet and the generous grease cookie right below the bullet combine to do the trick. My bores look the same after 10 rounds through each tube as they look after one round. Here's a look at my muzzles from back in February after I had put 10 rounds through each barrel:
Image

The fouling stays soft and greasy. Cleanup is a snap.

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Roscoe Stephenson
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gws
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Re: 50-140 Express loads

Post by gws » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:38 am

You might try 1/2" foam backer rod cut to the length you feel necessary as a wad. The big African cartridge shooters use it in their BPE cartridges. GS
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