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Old 01-31-2006, 09:59 AM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 54
How strong is the Pedersoli Sharps action?

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I bought a Pedersoli "Billy Dixon" 1874 Sharps. It has long range Soule sight and a Lee Shaver front sight. I would like to see how it shoots long range. Pedersoli says 29007 CUP is their recommended max. Buffalo Bore says their ammo is safe in Shilo, C. Sharps and Pedersoli. Other Buffalo Bore ammo that I have used is pretty hot loaded. Randy Garrett said to stay with his 420gr non +P load. His +P 45-70 loads he says are fine for Shilo and C. Sharps. How do I determine what loads are safe for my rifle? Will load manuals list pressures for their loads?
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:59 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: new brunswick canada
Posts: 6
billy dixon

I have the same gun and i emailed pedersoli with that very question.

Hi Brian:
The simple sight installed on new guns is not the precision adjusting vernier elevation type and has no controlled windage that this gun really needs. That simple sight is ordered by dealers so the buyer has at least some type of tang sight to get started.
Check our web site for the soule type of conventional vernier elevation tang sight types which will allow maximum accuracy from the gun.
Best bargain is the wood boxed set USA170 which gives the fully adjustable front sight plus a soule tang sight and Hadley eye cup ...etc.

The original Sharps was considered a strong action. Ballard and Stevens were considered weak. Now with modern replicas of modern steel plus we enlarged a few frame members etc. the gun is truly strong.
It is proof tested far higher than 29,000 psi chamber pressure using steel ctg cases. The brass cases are too thin walled to be safe past that pressure. The gun can take it though.
Our Sharps, High Wall, Rolling Block and Trapdoor are all of similar strength. The Win 1886 model is another antique design which due to steel of that day is not safe with pressures beyond 29000psi.
If we made a modern 1886 it would be much stronger.

Shooting a heavy 405 to 500 gr bullet at 29000psi will punish the shoulder and recoil is fierce.
Target shooters find best 1000 yard accuracy with loadings around 26000psi and using 550 gr bullets or similar.
Check out where under technical info. you can scroll down to a good reloading article and lots of advice.
For DP & CO.
Dick Trenk
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:41 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 225
true about the win 1886 , and they did have a run of modern guns under browning, that were made in japan in the early 90,s. ,or did you mean 1885.they also made a modern run of those guns as well i belive.
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Old 01-31-2008, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Gainesville FL and Michigan's UP
Posts: 434

I have a 1980 Guns & Ammo article on Sharps rifles written by Elmer Keith. In it, he said that he was often asked what smokeless powder he would recommend for the Sharps rifle. Keith's reply was a blunt "none". He of course was referring to loads that he used in his vintage rifles. Even at that, who am I to argue with old Elmer.

My Axtell 1877 Sharps rifles (40-70SS and 45-90) are made of modern steel, yet Axtell recommends loads of no greater pressure than black powder loadings. The steel may be modern, but the design is vintage.

Actually, the long range advantage of the single shot Sharps is that a longer and heavier bullet with a better ballistic coefficient can be used. You are no longer limited to a short overall length and the lighter FP bullets necessary for use in the lever action rifles. Modern shooters competing in Black Powder Silhouette and Creedmoor matches are using these rifles, with black powder loads, on targets up to 1000 yards, and they do very well indeed! Billy Dixon himself made the famous 1538 yard shot with his 50-90 Sharps.

Bottom line - if you don't really need high pressure loads for successful long range shooting, why stress an expensive rifle?
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Old 02-03-2008, 06:33 AM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 119
This question is being presented to the wrong forum for this answer. Go to and realize that you have a rifle best used with black powder. My Farmingdale Sharps tells me the same story.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:08 AM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Oak Creek CO
Posts: 188
I have found that the hotter loads with the llighter bullets (over 29- 30 gr AA 5744 &
405 gr bullet) were too fast for the 1-18 twist & would not group at all
if interested in a smokeless load for a 405gr cast try 26-28 gr AA 5744
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