1863 Carbine

Support for the 1863 shooter. Discussions of powders, loads, bullets, etc.
George Babits
Posts: 177
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:53 am

Re: 1863 Carbine

Post by George Babits » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:55 am

One of the most interesting things about the 1863 is that just about everything about it goes against the "wisdom" of both black powder cartridge and muzzle loading tennants. The bullet is somewhere close to the rifling because you can't "seat" it with a paper tube; and, the powder column only partially fills the chamber. Inspite of that, they do shoot well. People talk about gas leakage, but this rifle is well used, the gascheck plate is loose, but no leakage to speak of. Fun to shoot. The Shiloh booklet I have says that, with loose powder, to seat the bullet and then fill the powder chamber. I did that just to see how much powder that was - - 120g of FFg. I don't think I want to try that!! By the way, another really fun little carbine is the Maynard, which was the next leap foreward from the paper/linen cartridge. Not as much wallop though with a 350 grain slug and 42 grains of powder.

George

Todd Birch
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:01 pm
Location: Somewhere in the Cariboo ....

Re: 1863 Carbine

Post by Todd Birch » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:19 am

I had a very nice .54 '63 Sporter with that huge powder chamber. I sold it. I much prefer my .50s with the smaller chamber. Even using a filler and reducing the powder in the .54 to 85 grs was not fun with that big bullet.
"From birth to the packing house, we travel between the two eternities ....." Robert Duvall in "Broken Trail"

George Babits
Posts: 177
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:53 am

Re: 1863 Carbine

Post by George Babits » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:59 am

Well, with a "cartridge" you need that extra space in the powder chamber. I am using a lighter bullet (400g) and with 75 grains FFFg the rifle is a lot easier on my shoulder than the 50-70 military rifle with the 450g bullet. I need to get the original carbine out and see if it takes the same amount of powder. I'm thinking that the original service load was 65g with a 460g slug. That was for the carbine, but I'll bet the same load was used in the rifle.

George

Todd Birch
Posts: 2124
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:01 pm
Location: Somewhere in the Cariboo ....

Re: 1863 Carbine

Post by Todd Birch » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:28 am

According to several sources, the Civil War .52 Sharps carbine cartridges used 65 grs of "Musket" powder with a 458 gr bullet. Why Shiloh went to the .54 bore and such a cavernous powder chamber beats the hell out of me - literally.

For an interesting read I recommend: "Civil War Carbines - Myth vs Reality" by Peter Schiffers. It's available from Man At Arms books. He tests eleven original CW carbines, replicating the ammo as closely as possible. He rated them for accuracy and efficiency at 50m-100m-200m (55yds-110yds-220yds).

The Sharps '63 was rated 3rd overall. Number one was the Sharps & Hankins, followed by the Burnside. The 1860 Spencer was only 8th, which surprised me.
"From birth to the packing house, we travel between the two eternities ....." Robert Duvall in "Broken Trail"

George Babits
Posts: 177
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:53 am

Re: 1863 Carbine

Post by George Babits » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:46 am

Hi Tod,

I have that book and that was where I got the powser charge. I think the .52 caliber of the originals is the bore diameter. When you add in the groove depth it comes up to 54. I may be wrong there, I know I slugged the bore of my original carbine with that minie , if I remember right, it felt about the same as the Shiloh. The original is burried deeply in my safe but I want to dig it out in the next couple of days to see what the chamber holds.

If I remember right, he rated the Spencer as #1 for no other reason than that it was a repeater. They are notoriously inaccurate (fun to shoot though). Of course the Sharps and Hankins used the same cartridge as the Spencer. I thought the Maynard was rated fairly high as well. He really down rated the Smith which is suprizing since many of the N-SSa shooters are using them. My older brother swears by the Smith. The nice thing about the Maynard is that it is so simple.

George

Todd Birch
Posts: 2124
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:01 pm
Location: Somewhere in the Cariboo ....

Re: 1863 Carbine

Post by Todd Birch » Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:50 pm

The ratings I mentioned are for "ACCURACY", PAGE 131. The ratings you quoted (page 126) are for overall satisfaction from the Ordnance Dept. survey and his personal testing.
"From birth to the packing house, we travel between the two eternities ....." Robert Duvall in "Broken Trail"

George Babits
Posts: 177
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:53 am

Re: 1863 Carbine

Post by George Babits » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:25 pm

OK on the accuracy ratings. I didn't have the book open and was working from memory. I was definately thinking of his overall ratings though.

I dug out the original carbine and you were right on the powder capacity. It only holds 83g of FFg (by weight). Obviously the Shiloh chamber is much longer. Also tried the bullet fit (at the muzzle) and they are roughly the same. Now that I have the original out where I can get at it I need to shoot it. Sights are pretty hard for me to see, but not as bad as the Spencer. The gas check plate on the original doesn't have the two screwdriver slots like the Shiloh does. Not sure how to pull that for cleaning.

George

Jay Yuskaitis
Posts: 119
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:49 pm

Re: 1863 Carbine

Post by Jay Yuskaitis » Sat Oct 01, 2016 3:32 pm

Hmmmmm. Interesting.

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