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Casting: Got Unionized Yesterday

BigslugBigslug Senior MemberPosts: 8,753 Senior Member
Hit pause on the 9mm project for a spell to visit with Dad & help with some of his projects.

.54 caliber paper cartridge Sharps - just the thing for keeping John Bell Hood off your left flank:





You know you're in a fundamentally different realm when the Federal .45 ACP ammo trays no longer fit your projectiles.  These puppies drain a 20 pound pot fast. 

1865 Maynard Carbine:




This was the same guy that invented the "roll of caps"  tape primer mechanism that you see on some of the Sharps rifles and also on some of these carbines (not this one).  A bit of a revolutionary/transitional piece.  It uses a brass cartridge with a hole drilled in the base and ignites with a separate percussion cap.  No extraction either - just a big wide rim you pull out with your fingers.  Later versions fired some of the early cartridges we now consider conventional and had a good following as target rifles.  It's a neat mechanism and this one is certainly minute of milk jug.  At 390 grains times 3 bullets per pour, it doesn't drain the pot quite as fast as the Sharps, but it's still way quicker than the .380 Auto. :D
WWJMBD?

"Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee

Replies

  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 8,252 Senior Member
    Now that looks like fun, bet they are a hoot to shoot!!
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 796 Senior Member
    edited July 26 #3
    Second the motion that this looks like a LOT of fun!
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,617 Senior Member
    My FIL has a paper cartridge Sharps....fun gun to shoot...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,738 Senior Member
    I read that a veritable hodge podge of weapons was scrounged up to pepper the James gang at Northfield MN.. Among them was a Burnside carbine. Wouldn't be surprised if there was a 54 Sharps in the mix also.

    Ya only need sixty to start marching.
    ;-) 
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,753 Senior Member
    I read that a veritable hodge podge of weapons was scrounged up to pepper the James gang at Northfield MN.. Among them was a Burnside carbine. Wouldn't be surprised if there was a 54 Sharps in the mix also.

    Ya only need sixty to start marching.
    ;-) 
    One thing I'm curious about is just how quickly these transitional weapon systems "died" after modern ammo arrived.  In addition to the Sharps, Pop and I have attempted - with moderate success -  to manufacture paper cartridges for a French 1866 Chassepot, which was about the last gasp for fixed ammunition that wasn't brass.  Unless you're getting nerdy about the history, paper cartridges are something you manufacture because you NEED to, and unless you're in possession of the various patch templates, rolling mandrels, nitrited paper, etc..., pouring loose powder down a muzzleloader is a great deal simpler.  The Maynard could be repurposed as a muzzleloader simply by leaving the case in the chamber, loading from the front, and fitting a new percussion cap.  I can't imagine doing this on campaign, but it might keep you running afterwards.  I suppose the Sharps could be run the same way with no cartridges, but realistically, who would do this and why?

    It's a little weird, but by about 1900, a traditional caplock muzzle loader from about 1840 would probably be a more practical firearm to own than state of the art military tech from 1864.

    Sixty to march?  I think I put a fair dent in outfitting a squad. :D
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,986 Senior Member
    What you say is absolutely true. A war against Chile caught us in a "transicion period" and thanks to corruption we were stuck in the middle of a swap from smoothbore muzzleloaders to metallic cartridge repeaters, with all you can imagine in the middle being issued: Minié rifles from the Civil War period from all makers (Autrian, American, French, etc.), pinfire revolvers, centerfire repeaters, paper cartridge bolt action sigle shots, custom-made metallic cartrige versions of the latter, etc. etc, 

    Unlike us, Chileans were standarized in centerfire lever action carbines for cavalry and center fire Comblains for the infantry, with modern breechloading Krupp artillery. Needless to say such standarization avoided them from the logistical nightmare we suffered and literally wiped the floor with our (Poorly trained and ill equipped by the way) infantry.

    That transitional phase from the mid-1850s to 1890 showed a quick development in firearms like the one we've seen in computers from the early '70s up to today. Sadly such "murky waters" that made some firearms and ammo pretty much obsolete in a matter of months costed a lot of lives of soldiers who were stuck to fight with what their leaders thought was "the way of the future".
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 4,287 Senior Member
    I have always been interested in the 54cal paper cartridge Sharps but never found one priced right enough to play the game. Have you posted on this before and I missed it? Would be very interested in a range report if not.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,738 Senior Member
    People would have collected or accumulated odds and ends back then as much as today. Souvenirs, war bring backs etc.. At Gettysburg, a veteran of the war of 1812 that was a local resident, fought with his smooth bore musket. IIRC., his last name was Burns.

    I'd guess a big portion of people were largely overwhelmed with the brutal work of survival. Exempting them from the pursuit of the latest weapons technology. The movie about Sgt York starring Gary Cooper comes to mind.

    The ability to manufacture one's own ammunition would certainly be good thing.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,753 Senior Member
    sakodude said:
    I have always been interested in the 54cal paper cartridge Sharps but never found one priced right enough to play the game. Have you posted on this before and I missed it? Would be very interested in a range report if not.
    Will keep you posted.  The best work will probably come from a Pedersoli replica of the Berdan Sharpshooters 1859 variant of the rifle, although an original '63 carbine may come out to play as well.

    We're using Hodgdon Triple 7 in place of real black, since the real stuff is a bit problematic here in the PRC.  This necessitates a reduction in charge volume to maintain original power levels, which in the case of these cartridges, requires wad spacers to keep everything dimensioned properly.

    Since these things seem to go in spurts, I suspect the scoped Whitworth replica will come out to play as well.  Hexagonal bullets, doncha know. . .
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 4,287 Senior Member
    whitworth, holly crap, even more jealous now! 
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,753 Senior Member
    sakodude said:
    whitworth, holly crap, even more jealous now! 
    Was Dad's pre-retirement present to himself maybe 9-10 years ago.  That, and my sudden need for hollow-based Webley MKII bullets were the main things that got us into bullet casting, because you can't exactly order up such things in a Match King box from Sierra.

    It sports a side-mounted 6x Malcolm scope to replicate the 4x Davison scope that some of the Confederate snipers were fortunate enough to have.  If a .338 Lapua Accuracy International is sniping's moon rocket. . .I dunno. . .it's not exactly right to say that a Whitworth is sniping's atl-atl, but that's kind of the measure of how primitive the optics arrangement is.  They were given to the shooting rock stars of the army in a time and culture where being a shooting rock star really meant something, so much like a caveman that ran an atl-atl since toddler-hood, results were achieved that would seem amazing to most of us.

    The paper-patched, .451 caliber missile is an impressive thing to behold.  We've still got a stash of them from the initial casting efforts years ago.  It's a difficult mold to run, and we've learned A BUNCH since then, so there's a temptation to melt them down and start over - at least if we choose to venture beyond the 100 yard "kiddy range" that we have the most easy access to.

    But the Sharps and Maynard are on the front burner right now, so, be patient.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
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