Percussion rifle calibers

Support for the 1863 shooter. Discussions of powders, loads, bullets, etc.
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BFD
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Percussion rifle calibers

Post by BFD » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:44 am

In what calibers were Sharps percussion rifles made? Specifically, were there any 50 calibers?

A student on campus has found many lead bullets that look like they could come from Civil War and just thereafter period rifles. They were recovered on campus so it is interesting to know what they might have been shooting.

Researching some documentation shows that the military training program, in 1871 was once given, among other things, "40 U.S. Breech loading muskets", along with "50 Enfield rifles, .58 caliber complete" and "1000 rounds center fire cartridges" (rifle or pistol?).

I was wondering if those "breech loaders" might have been percussion or converted Sharps rifles. No way to know, but some .50 cal bullets were found that are interesting to consider. Most were pretty heavily damaged however.

Anyway, I see .54 caliber percussions Sharps but no sign of .50 caliber - were there any?

thanks

Todd Birch
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Re: Percussion rifle calibers

Post by Todd Birch » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:48 pm

According to Sellers, Sharps made paper cartridges in 32, 60 and 90 bore, which corresponds to .54, .44 and .36 calibre.

There isn't a lot of difference between .50 and .54, especially after being fired from rifles with varying bore sizes and oxidized after years in the ground. When I got my first .50 '63, I shot 'as cast' bullets that miked at .515" and shot just fine. Then I got a 50-70 and sized to .510, which I now use in both my .50 '63's.

There were several ACW carbines in .50 calibre. The rds you mention could have been from any of them.

The Slant breech carbines ordered by the Brits were in .577 in order to use the same bullet as the P53 Enfield. They must have been a joy to shoot!
"From birth to the packing house, we travel between the two eternities ....." Robert Duvall in "Broken Trail"

jackrabbit
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Re: Percussion rifle calibers

Post by jackrabbit » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:16 pm

What are ACW caribes? Thank you for enlightening me,
Cody

Todd Birch
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Re: Percussion rifle calibers

Post by Todd Birch » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:58 pm

ACW = American Civil War in text speak shorthand.
"From birth to the packing house, we travel between the two eternities ....." Robert Duvall in "Broken Trail"

Todd Birch
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Re: Percussion rifle calibers

Post by Todd Birch » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:58 pm

ACW = American Civil War in text speak shorthand.
"From birth to the packing house, we travel between the two eternities ....." Robert Duvall in "Broken Trail"

Naphtali
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Re: Percussion rifle calibers

Post by Naphtali » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:23 pm

I believe Sellers' book also referenced .577-caliber carbines sold to British East India Company and a similar carbine in use in Egypt. How many? Dunno. Results and/or evaluation by commanders of the users? Dunno.

Referencing the British East India Company, the carbines had to have been bought prior to 1857. Subsequent to suppressing "The Mutiny," this private controller of British Indian possessions ceased to exist because the British government took control of the British portion of the subcontinent. While I have no accurate knowledge of when the Anglo-Egyptian army received its Sharps carbines, I anticipate this acquisition was also prior to 1857.
When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. Jonathan Swift

Todd Birch
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Re: Percussion rifle calibers

Post by Todd Birch » Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:20 am

I've got a reference book on the arms of the British Army that mentions the numbers, barrel lengths and modifications of the slant breech Sharps carbines used by their Cavalry. If you want, I'll look it up and post it.

Bottom line - the troops loved them, despite the poor gas seal that singed the cuffs of expensive uniforms! The Horse Guards rejected them on that basis and by the time the new improved vertical breech model was ready, a decision to adopt a British carbine was made, rendering the Sharps obsolete.

This almost forced Robbins & Lawrence into receivership until the American Civil War saved their bacon.
"From birth to the packing house, we travel between the two eternities ....." Robert Duvall in "Broken Trail"

jeb
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Re: Percussion rifle calibers

Post by jeb » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:49 am

The Remington Cadet rifle was a 50 cal. That might have been the correct time period. You might google it..............

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