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A bespoke double rifle from the days of Queen Victoria

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  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,206 Senior Member
    Yeah. . .OK.  Very cool!

    Definitely worth learning the load it was regulated for.  You can fudge with both load intensity and bullet weight, but probably far cheaper to know where to start.  

    Unless you're set up to get a "pound casting" of the chamber with fired brass, this may not be the gun to learn on.  Having a gunsmith Cerrosafe it may be the better approach.

    Once you have that info, Accurate Molds is the go-to source for custom, made-to-order molds.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 552 Senior Member
    Eureka I found it...…..120 grains #6 powder.
    very small on the heal of the buttplate…..did I say VERY small
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 5,571 Senior Member
    Double up on the Past shield 😱
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,875 Senior Member
    I wonder what #6 converts to in "Fs"
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 552 Senior Member
    Scott I think it's equivalent to 1.5 Swiss or 2ff goex.

    I'm still a long ways from finding out what I need to on it history and safe loads.

    It's all totally new to me.
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 552 Senior Member
    GunNut said:
    Double up on the Past shield 😱
    I'm going Zee style when it happens. ...yeah yeah you want video of me taking it on the chin.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,875 Senior Member
    I'm using 2FG in my Sharps...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 5,571 Senior Member
    GunNut said:
    Double up on the Past shield 😱
    I'm going Zee style when it happens. ...yeah yeah you want video of me taking it on the chin.
    Noooooooo....... maybe........... well if you just have to record it 😁
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,748 Senior Member

    This is a good book. According to the content. You want soft bullet lube of natural non-petroleum composition to keep fouling soft. Protection for the base of the bullet. The author said milk carton waxed cardboard seems to be prefered. Magnum primers deliver the most consistent ignition. 

    120 grs is a big charge......
  • DrawbarFlatsDrawbarFlats Posts: 715 Senior Member
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 12,500 Senior Member
    I think Early is right, Mike Venturino would be a good guy to contact
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 552 Senior Member
    120 grs is a big charge....

    It's a very big case.

    Right now I think that would be for the heavy bullet.
    I think the lighter was 130-140

    Thanks for the tips too.
    Already been reading some on greased cookies....they sound yukky.

    Compressing the charge and definitely lubed up.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,875 Senior Member
    I use greased fiber wads....when I use wads...I don't always...

    I buy my bullets pre-lubed with SPG lube

    Good compression on a black powder cartridge is really important, but achieving it pretty much happens when you seat your bullet.
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,206 Senior Member
    Gonna take a couple of swings here. . .

    You've got the same pattern of rifling as the Martinis, so they were most likely thinking paper patched bullets.  Obviously, you can shoot greasers, which modern lubes let you do and would be easier on the bore in the really long run.  It would be worth looking into the construction of the period cartridges - the .577/.450 Martini used a paper patched slug with some form of fiber (wool maybe) between the bullet and a base wad.  Since regulating a double can be a tricky thing, it'll be worth having all the data you can lay your hands on.  Closest thing to authentic (I'm guessing) would be a paper patched slug, a card compression wad on top of the powder, and MAYBE a series of felt wads between the two if they were needed to maintain spacing/compression with different spacings caused by bullet weight changes within the factory load offerings.

    A trick my Dad's picked up in his BP cartridge shooting - an onionskin paper layer between the bullet and the compression card wad helps the wad separate cleanly from the slug.  Not that this is a 1,000 yard precision rifle, but good lab technique is good lab technique.

    I have my copy of Cartridges of the World open to the British Sporting Rifles section.  Assuming this to be a non-bottlenecked, straight-wall cartridge, I'm going to guess you have the three inch version of the .500 Black Powder Express, which the good book says was the most commercially successful version.  The general .500 BPE family was born in the mid to late 1860's, and it looks like the sizes ran from 1.5 to 3.25 inches

    Specs for the .500 BPE 3" claim a bullet weight range of 340 to 440 grains and charges of 123 to 142 grains of BP.    

    Looks like the general family of British BP .50 cals were pushing 400 grains at about 1900 fps - so basically you're getting levels of performance in the "modern action" sections of the .45-70 load data.

    COTW says that in their day, the .500 BPE's were regarded as good general purpose guns in India, but not so well liked in Africa.  My guess is that since it is a pretty light bullet for a .50, the sectional density and penetration were somewhat lacking for elephant and buffalo.

    What's the rear sight into on that gun?
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,748 Senior Member
    I think I read that larger frontal area bullets ie 50cal need more speed than is often reasonably possible for consistent penetration on elephants.

    We're going to have to at least find an elephant picture for a target........
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,206 Senior Member
    Reading further on the 3" BPE. . .

    "In the early 1900's Fraser had a load with 120 grains of black and a 570-grain bullet, which is the bullet weight of the full Nitro cartridge"

    So it seems they were trying to up the performance of the older BP guns for Africa into the Nitro era.

    The cartridge dimensions chart lists the .500 BPE 3" and the 3.25" version of the .500 Nitro Express.  Aside from the obvious  length difference, the only dimensional difference is on the rim thickness:

    .500 BPE - 0.055"
    .500 NE - - 0.040"

    I would take that with a grain of salt and consult a couple more sources, as fifteen thousandth's is not very much among friends.  I VERY MUCH doubt that they would have been manufacturing Nitro guns that wouldn't close on a black powder version of the round.  I could see them going the OTHER way for safety's sake. . .

    Midway has RCBS .500 NE 3-die sets for the 3" version.  Might be that gets you in the game.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 552 Senior Member
    edited July 4 #78
    Bigslug I'm pretty sure this is going to wind up the less common 3 1/4 when all is figured out.

    The rear sight is a single leaf one.



  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,748 Senior Member
    I wonder if you couldnt run a thin film of oil in them chambers and pack some playdough in em'. Run a wood dowel through the muzzle and slide out a redneck chamber cast???
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,206 Senior Member
    Bigslug I'm pretty sure this is going to wind up the less common 3 1/4 when all is figured out.

    The rear sight is a single leaf one.



    Maybe.  No reason you couldn't shoot the shorter rounds Listed case length is 3.01" for the BPE, and 3.25" for the Nitro 3.25 (shocking!).  

    Bear in mind that the chamber would be a skosh longer than either on a modern chamber, and they probably were considering allowance for BP fouling at the time.  Midway has brass for either.  The one box of Bertram 3.25" brass is actually marked down cheaper than the 3" stuff right now.  Might want to pounce.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 552 Senior Member
    I can't pounce until I see what the ledger may say.
    With Mr.Grants clientele I could be shooting myself in the foot.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,675 Senior Member
    Metford rifling is for BP, I think.  7-shallow-grove.  Didn't work so well with smokeless and jacketed bullets, or so I read.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 552 Senior Member
    Gene L said:
    Metford rifling is for BP, I think.  7-shallow-grove.  Didn't work so well with smokeless and jacketed bullets, or so I read.
    Gene pretty much learning as I go on this and it looks and is most likily to be Henry rifling.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,206 Senior Member
    Yup.  Henry.  How ya feel about rolling your bullets in wet paper patches, leaving them to dry, dipping in beeswax. . .?  True, you don't have to, but they're SO COOOOOOL! :D
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 552 Senior Member
    Bigslug said:
    Yup.  Henry.  How ya feel about rolling your bullets in wet paper patches, leaving them to dry, dipping in beeswax. . .?  True, you don't have to, but they're SO COOOOOOL! :D
    Not bad I'll do what works well.
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 3,864 Senior Member
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 5,571 Senior Member
    Bigslug said:
    Yup.  Henry.  How ya feel about rolling your bullets in wet paper patches, leaving them to dry, dipping in beeswax. . .?  True, you don't have to, but they're SO COOOOOOL! :D
    Not bad I'll do what works well.
    Yep!  Not like you’ll be plinking at Coke cans with this one every Sunday 😁
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 552 Senior Member
    sakodude said:
    https://ads.midwayusa.com/product/1014476852
    i have this book I can send you.
    Thanks Tom.
    I'd like to check it out.

  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 552 Senior Member
    GunNut said:
    Bigslug said:
    Yup.  Henry.  How ya feel about rolling your bullets in wet paper patches, leaving them to dry, dipping in beeswax. . .?  True, you don't have to, but they're SO COOOOOOL! :D
    Not bad I'll do what works well.
    Yep!  Not like you’ll be plinking at Coke cans with this one every Sunday 😁
    Don't know just this morning I had a grround grizzly staring me down. I could tell he was ready to charge. 


  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,206 Senior Member
    FWIW - The official bullet alloy for the Whitworth of Civil War and Victorian target shooting fame was 10-1 lead/tin, and the Martini-Henrys and.455 Webley revolvers were using 12-1.  Stands to reason that you'll find bliss somewhere around there.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 552 Senior Member
    A bit of an update for Ron

    Where I stand right now is still in limbo.
    On the Grant ledger I did just get an email from AGL reservations so my inquiry was at least read and hopefully forwarded to Mr.Lovell.

    The other man I've been in contact with a managing editor at vintage gun journal will "call" him if I don't hear back in a week.
    I think he's just as interested as me.

    Figures I found once fired brass at a good price....think I'm still taking that plunge.

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